Furosemide “Might Be Justifiable”
By The Editors
Furosemide [Lasix/Salix], used in the United States and Canada to treat bleeding into the airways in thoroughbred racehorses, decreases the incidence of hemorrhage according to results of a recent study….
The study involved 167 horses randomly allocated to race fields of nine to 16 horses each. Each horse raced in two races, one week apart, in the same field and in races of the same distance. In the blinded study, each horse received furosemide before one race and saline solution before the other race. Horses raced under typical racing conditions. Endoscopy was performed within 30-90 minutes after racing to identify the presence of blood in airways.
The research showed that giving furosemide before a race dramatically decreased the incidence and severity of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, or EIPH. Horses were three to four times more likely to have any evidence of bleeding without furosemide … seven to 11 times more likely to have severe bleeding without it.
The study, conducted by researchers at Colorado State University, the University of Melbourne and the University of Pretoria, concludes,
Results of the study provide strong evidence that furosemide can help prevent the development of EIPH in Thoroughbred racehorses. As such, its use in racehorses might be justifiable, assuming that other regulatory and policy issues important to the integrity of the sport are adequately addressed.
That last is a key phrase.
The study will be published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association on July 1, 2009. Interested readers can download a PDF already available.