Attending and regulatory veterinarians are HISA’s frontline workers with regard to equine safety and welfare. Their work falls into several categories under HISA:
- Veterinarians’ List
- Pre-race, post-race and ad-hoc examinations and observation
- Treatment history and records
- Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) compliance
- Prohibited practices
- Necropsies and Racetrack Safety and Welfare Committee reviews
Horses can be added to the Vets’ List due to illness, injury, epistaxis, administration of shockwave treatment, administration of medications invoking stand-down times, exhibiting signs of being physically distressed or being medically compromised, unsoundness or returning to race following a long layoff (“recency”).
Horses on the Vets’ List due to unsoundness, recency or exhibiting signs of being physically distressed or medically compromised must undergo a multi-step process involving the horse’s trainer, attending vet and the regulatory vet at the track. The process includes an attending vet examination, a timed work in front of the regulatory vet and a post-work inspection by the regulatory vet.
Horses that have undergone shockwave treatment will be added to the Vet’s List and are ineligible to race or breeze for 30 days. The use of shockwave machines is limited to licensed attending vets, and treatments must be reported.
Pre-Race, Post-Race and Ad-Hoc Inspections & Observation
Regulatory vets have access to any and all Covered Horses at a track, regardless of entry status, and can perform inspections or observe horses during training activities and workouts. Pre- and post-race inspections are conducted on every horse, and the regulatory vet is responsible for notifying stewards of any horse he or she deems to be unsafe to be raced or if it would be inhumane to allow the horse to race.
Attending vets cannot come into contact with horses they are treating within 24 hours of a race in which the horse is entered.
Treatment History and Records
Attending vets are required to submit an electronic veterinary report within 24 hours of examining or treating a Covered Horse. These records may be used by regulatory vets to perform their duties at the racetrack, for transfer of 60 days of veterinary records to the new trainer of a claimed horse and for research purposes.
Regulatory vets are responsible for placing horses on the Vets’ List after a race if a horse is found to be unsound, to have bled, to be physically distressed or medically compromised, or the horse tests positive for a Prohibited Substance. If the subject horse is a claimed horse, the stewards will order the claim void.
All horses entering the grounds of a racetrack are required to have updated vaccinations and tests as part of HISA’s efforts to enhance the health and welfare of all equine athletes.
Under the ADMC Program, for the first time, a uniform list of substances is prohibited or controlled at the same levels no matter where horses are racing or training. The program’s uniform medication classifications, expanded testing protocols, efficient adjudication processes, and consistent penalties that fit the severity of the violation simplify compliance and level the playing field for the vast majority of racing participants who play by the rules.
The Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU) administers the education, rules and enforcement mechanisms of HISA’s ADMC program.
Attending veterinarians play an especially important role in ADMC compliance and should review the Controlled and Banned Substances Lists and consult with HIWU on testing procedures and rule administration.
HISA prohibits several veterinary practices that may mask signs of injury or desensitize limb/musculoskeletal structures.
Necropsies and Racetrack Safety & Welfare Committee Reviews
Any horse that dies or is euthanized at a track is subject to a necropsy.
Additionally, tracks must form a Racetrack Safety and Welfare Committee to review the circumstances around fatalities, injuries, and track safety issues. The Committee will be chaired by the Regulatory Veterinarian at the track and will coordinate with the deceased horse’s attending vet(s), trainer and others involved in the care of the horse.