Texas Racing Commission
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Texas Racing Commission

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Veterinary Department

The Veterinary Department operates under the supervision of the Commission's Chief Veterinarian. The department employs veterinarians at each operating racetrack, as well as technicians who assist in the drug testing program. The department is responsible for monitoring the health of all animals racing at pari-mutuel racetracks in Texas and for administering the drug testing program for race animals.

Bleeders

A horse observed by the Commission Veterinarian to bleed from the nostrils (exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage) in a race or a workout will be put on the Vet's List for a period of time determined by the Commission Veterinarian. The length of time a bleeder must spend on the Vet's List depends on the number of bleeding incidents the horse has suffered, including bleeding incidents that occur outside Texas.

Either a Commission Veterinarian or a private veterinarian licensed by the Commission may make the official diagnosis of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. A private veterinarian who diagnoses exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage must report the incident to the Commission Veterinarian.

A trainer may learn whether a new horse under his or her care is a documented bleeder by checking the bleeder list at the racing office or contacting the Test Barn Supervisor in the test barn. A trainer is not required to enter a horse that bleeds in the furosemide program.

Furosemide Program

Furosemide is a medication that is recognized to reduce the incidence of exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage. A trainer may admit a horse to the furosemide program by stating at time of entry for a race that the horse will compete on furosemide. A horse that competed on furosemide in its most recent start outside Texas must compete on furosemide in Texas unless withdrawn from the program at the time of entry. For more information on the Commission's furosemide program, see §319.111 of the Commission's rules.

Vet's List

A racing animal that is scratched from a race for health reasons or observed by the Commission Veterinarian to be lame or ill will be placed on the vet's list. A trainer may learn whether an animal under his or her care is on the vet's list by checking the current vet's list posted in the racing office or by contacting the Test Barn Supervisor. The trainer may also learn the requirements for a particular animal to be removed from the list.

An animal on the vet's list is ineligible to compete in a race at any Texas racetrack until it is removed from the list by the Commission Veterinarian. Reciprocity agreements with other pari-mutuel racing states may extend that ineligibility.

Drug Testing

All race animals participating in pari-mutuel racing in Texas are subject to drug testing to ensure the integrity of the race results. The Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory performs all primary sample testing. A positive drug test may result in a penalty being assessed against the persons responsible for the animal, including a fine, suspension and loss of purse.

The Drug Testing Laboratory uses screening tests, ELISA and/or thin layer chromatography, to detect the possible presence of illegal substances. A Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS) is used to identify the exact molecular fingerprint of the substance. Positive tests are only reported to the Commission when confirmed by GC/MS. This highly precise test identifies the substance but does not measure the concentration of the substance in the sample.

The Texas Rules of Racing require the measurement of blood levels of phenylbutazone and furosemide in horses. A violation will occur when those levels exceed stated permissible limits. A trainer should work closely with his or her practicing veterinarian to avoid an unacceptable blood level of either of these substances.

Pursuant to Texas Racing Commission Rule §319.304, the Executive Director has developed a classification of prohibited drugs, chemicals and other substances and a schedule for recommended disciplinary action.

Page updated: 3/2/17

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