In the Shadow of Horse

In the Shadow of Horse
In the Shadow of Horse

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lasix-free Horseracing

The simplest and most logical solution that favors the health and welfare of the horse is to ban raceday Lasix and the administration of all other drugs after entry. No medication should be allowed to be administered whatsoever after a horse is entered and the post positions are drawn. This policy would make racing not only safer, but more enticing to the general public, as the playing field would be evened, and the betting would be fairer. 
Lasix use has engendered the dangerous drug culture horseracing is experiencing. Lasix facilitates substandard horsemanship. Lasix promotes the medication mentality. Most horses that bleed are those horses cared for and conditioned in a substandard fashion. Pulmonary health is reflective of appropriate horsemanship. Drugging horses to race demonstrates a lack of consideration for the health and welfare of horses, as has come clearly evident.
Rather than establish appropriate ventilation and provide horses with abundant locomotion which enhances the soundness of wind and limb, trainers lock their horses down in the stalls, feed them drugs, inject their joints, harpoon their jugulars with Lasix and whatever other drugs they can get away with before heading to the paddock, and race. These people are not horsemen, they are sham pharmacists. This drug-addled behavior, my friends, causes breakdowns. Lasix is the root of the problem, and Lasix and all other drugs, whatever their nature, should be forbidden after entry, as the rules once stipulated back in the 1960s before the pharmaceutical veterinary lobby. Doping has and always will be a problem, but a problem that will be much easier addressed and minimized when permitted drugs are taken out of the picture after post positions are drawn. The standard procedure that resulted in the Aqueduct breakdowns was this: Enter the questionably sound horse. When the race fills and entries are drawn, get the vet over to inject all the troubled joints. Don't stop with the joints. After all that joint work, best make sure everything else that needs doping is doped. Dope the horse thoroughly, with everything and anything that may help and will not test. Race the horse; hope he or she wins to cover the vet bills, and cross your fingers the horse doesn't breakdown and pray the jockey survives if the horse does.


Dr Gustafson is an equine veterinarian, veterinary behaviorist, and novelist. Natural approaches to development, training, nutrition, and conditioning sustain equine health and enhance performance. Behavioral and nutritional enrichment strategies enhance the lives of stabled horses. Training and husbandry from the horse's perspective result in content, cooperative horses. DrSid provides equine behavior consultations to help recreate the needs and preferences of horses in training and competition.
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