While the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) recognizes the therapeutic benefits of the drug furosemide, commonly known as Lasix, to help mitigate the occurrence of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH) in racehorses, the AQHA executive committee recently asked the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission to review the proposed prohibition of Lasix for show horses, set to be effective as of Jan. 1, 2018.
Balancing the use of therapeutic medication for the welfare of the horse in different types of competition, such as racing and showing, while minimizing or eliminating performance-enhancing properties of medication compounds has been a challenge in the equine industry. Lasix has been endorsed by several equine groups and the American Association of Equine Practitioners to lessen the occurrence of EIPH in racehorses. Consistent with such groups, the AQHA opposed the latest version of the newly introduced Horseracing Integrity Act of 2017, which would eliminate all race-day medications, including Lasix in racehorses.
The association and executive committee are committed to the welfare of the horse and look forward to receiving additional input from the AQHA Animal Welfare Commission regarding the proposed prohibition of Lasix across all disciplines of show horses, including whether disciplines that may have a higher incidence of EIPH warrant different Lasix policies.
In the interim, the current rule change will be held for review and the final decision of the executive committee regarding Lasix usage in show horses will be announced on AQHA.com after the investigation has concluded.