Guidelines for Classification of Prohibited Substances

Classification of Prohibited Substances in specimens collected on race day

This classification document is intended as a guideline to assist in understanding the severity and implications of alleged prohibited substance (drug) offences and to serve as a guide in respect of the associated penalty.  It is however important to stress that other aspects (than classification) can also contribute to the severity of the offence and the associated penalty. These include the route of administration of the drug preparation, illegal sourcing of this preparation, the intent to manipulate the race result, risk to the rider, the welfare of the horse, a prohibited practice which could be involved, evidence that the substance(s) may have been used improperly and previous offences. During such investigation (formal inquiry) there may be an investigation into aspects surrounding the administration of a drug to the horse as well as the veterinary and pharmacological aspects of the finding. It is important to note that for a particular substance, different findings may present very different facts and aspects to consider. There may also be mitigating circumstances which must be investigated and considered. These could affect the outcome of the inquiry and the penalty, irrespective of the particular substance and the associated classification.

 

The included list provides for a range of substances administered to racehorses:

  • Included are locally registered veterinary preparations and local human preparations which registered veterinarians may use as an off-label application when deemed necessary. The practice of off-label use of locally registered human preparations in the veterinary (equine) field is allowed. This is in contrast with the illegal use of preparations which are not registered or not licensed locally.
  • Compounded veterinary pharmaceuticals are preparations which are specially manufactured on prescription in compounding pharmacies to create a particular product for a particular need. The preparation is often a close copy of an existing product. Such products can legitimately be used on horses as indicated, when it is formally prescribed for a specific horse.
  • There is a variety of prohibited substance containing preparations which are readily available in shops and pharmacy shop-fronts. These are often not scheduled or these have a schedule which does not need a prescription.

Any substance not included in this list which forms part of a local registered preparation, will be classified according to its drug grouping. Drugs which are illegally sourced, which would have a pronounced effect on the horse and which are clearly not intended for use in the horse are placed in higher classes. This particularly if these might affect the performance of the horse and the outcome of a race. Such findings may be forwarded to the relevant veterinary, medication control and law enforcement bodies and authorities for further investigation.

The class ranking of substances

The ranking of the substances within the indicated classes is based on aspects such as the pharmacological effect, the considered ability to influence the outcome of a race and whether or not these have a legitimate therapeutic use in the racehorse. Drugs clearly intended for use in equine therapeutics and those unlikely to affect race performance occupy lower classes. Many of the drugs have numerous effects and side effects and this has to be considered within the classification. This substance classification will be reviewed on a regular basis and new substances will be added or removed when deemed appropriate.

The metabolites of substances

Note that this list of actual substances does not include all the metabolites of all the listed prohibited substances covered by the listed drug groupings. Some of the listed substances are precursors of prohibited substances (pro-drugs which are often steroid esters) and these are also considered prohibited substances. Where both a substance and its metabolite(s) are reported (or similarly both a substance and its pro-drugs), these are considered singular findings. Such metabolites and pro-drugs are classified corresponding to the prohibited substance. 

                          

Screening limits, Residue limits and International Thresholds

International Screening Limits (ISLs) are International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) agreed urine or plasma concentration prosecution action (cut-off) levels which apply to a limited list of specified therapeutic (legitimate horse treatment) prohibited substances.

There are some such similar therapeutic prohibited substance action levels which are decided on by the Asian Racing Federation and these are called Asian Screening Limits (ASLs).

Similarly there are IFHA action levels to control certain substances which are contaminants and environmental substances (residues) which could be present in the feed of the horse or its environment, which are called International Residue Limits (IRLs).

International (IFHA) Thresholds are in place for substances which could be endogenous to the horse, substances arising from plants traditionally grazed or harvested as equine feed or substances in equine feed arising from contamination during cultivation, processing or treatment, storage, or transportation. Many of these substances are to some level present in all horses. The prosecution of these substances in the racehorse do not just require an indication that these are shown to exceed limit concentration, such is the requirement for ISLs, ASLs and IRLs. In contrast, with an International Threshold the prosecution requires the quantification of the substance to obtain an accurate quantity which is reported to exceed the threshold value.


 

Non-local preparations

Preparations, drugs and substances not included in this list and those which are not registered for use in this country will be considered Class 1 violations unless information is presented as to justify reclassification.

The availability of drug preparations in shops and pharmacy shop-fronts

There are a variety of prohibited substance containing preparations which are readily available in retail shops. These are often not scheduled at all or have a S1 or S2 medication schedule which does not require a prescription. These most frequently contain anti-inflammatory (pain treatment) drugs and often these are bandages, gels, ointments, liniments or tablets. These are discussed in a separate section.

Vitamin B12 preparations which contain cobalt

Part of the vitamin B12 molecule is the element cobalt. This implies that the timing of the administration of this vitamin, and the dose administered, needs to be considered in relation to the timing of racing. Vitamin B12 and other sources of cobalt (such as supplements, tonics and fortified feeds) are discussed in a separate section.

Beta-2 agonist drugs

Beta-2 agonists which form part of legitimate veterinary preparation require special discussion. These are Forbidden Substances (Class 1) as these are ”Anabolic agents”. Two of these substances (clenbuterol and salbutamol) however also form part of legitimate veterinary treatments if these are formally prescribed and issued for the treatment of a particular (veterinarian diagnosed) horse. These two substances and their classification are discussed in separate sections. If a horse specimen is confirmed to contain one of these substances and there is no veterinary prescription in place for this horse then this finding will be considered Class 1. In contrast, if a veterinary diagnosis, prescription and correctly labeled medication is in place for this specific horse, then the inquiry may consider to prosecute this as a finding of a class less severe than Class 1.

Multidrug preparations

It must be noted that some preparations contain several prohibited substances (such as Buscopan which contains both N-butylscopolamine and dipyrone). If a withdrawal period is considered for such preparations then the period of detection of the most long-lasting substances in this medication must be considered. Care must for example be taken with the administration of preparations such as procaine penicillin. While the penicillin is an antibiotic and not a prohibited substance, the procaine is a prohibited substance while contained in this long-acting formulation. Procaine penicillin is discussed in a separate section.


 

Bisphosphates

Bisphosphates are prohibited drug substances which may find application in the treatment of bone density loss. There is the allowance that the local veterinary bisphosphonate drug Tiludronic acid may however be administered to the racehorse under specific conditions under the care of a veterinarian, as discussed in a separate section.

Forbidden Substances

These are substances considered by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities to be “prohibited substances which are not to be administered to racehorses at any time during their racing career”. These are Class 1 substances. The current list of NHA Forbidden Substances is provided within the Rules of the NHA (Appendix M).

Exempted Substances

The classification does not include those substances which would seem not to affect the performance of the horse. This includes substances or drugs such as antibiotics / antimicrobials (correctly prescribed and administered, with the exception of procaine penicillin), anti-parasitic anti-viral medication and anti-fungal medication approved and registered for use in horses. Also anti-ulcer medication, registered vaccines against infectious agents in horses, glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate and locally registered oestrus suppressant medications in the female horse (these are prohibited substances when detected in a gelding or a male horse). These substances are defined and listed as “Exempted Substances” within the Rules of the NHA (Appendix N). With these substances being exempted it is confirmed that these antibiotics antimicrobials, anti-parasitic anti-viral medication and anti-fungal drugs and substances are not prohibited substances.

Authorised Race Day Substances

These substances may be administered to the horse on race day. None of the substances are prohibited substances. These substances are listed in the Rules of the NHA, Appendix O.


 

Classification of Prohibited Substances in specimens collected Out of Competition 

The classification and penalties associated with Class 1 and Class 2 and Forbidden Substances apply equally during out of competition and on race day.

Where a particular substance is found to be a feed or environmental contaminant, the specific pharmacological classification of the substance may be of less relevance than the issue of the contamination.

Prohibited substances can be contained within preparations and products which can be legally sourced and administered by a non-veterinarian (such as a trainer). The administration of such preparations and products to the racehorse must be detailed in the relevant Veterinary Treatment Register (VTR).

For out of competition specimens the guidelines for prohibited substances in classes 3, 4 and 5 do not apply to those therapeutic substances which may be prescribed and supplied to the horse by a veterinarian as to treat a diagnosed condition or illness. Where such a therapeutic substance (which is also a prohibited substance) is confirmed in an out of competition specimen from the horse, and such a substance was prescribed and/or supplied by a veterinarian in the treatment of a condition or illness, it is not a positive finding if there is a record and if this is correctly recorded in the Veterinary Treatment Register for this horse.

Where such a therapeutic substance (which is also a prohibited substance) is confirmed in an out of competition specimen from the horse and such a substance was not prescribed and/or not supplied by the veterinarian in the treatment of a condition or illness, or in the absence of a record of this or not correctly recorded and detailed in the Veterinary Treatment Register for this horse, it is an offence which will be prosecuted for. The offence is not directly related to the finding of a prohibited substance but is related to the absence of the prescribed procedure and records of when this horse was treated or exposed to this prohibited substance.

Note that preparations and products which contain the substances arsenic, cobalt, dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) and salicylic acid precursors must be recorded in the relevant veterinary treatment register. This applies even though these are not necessarily scheduled medications which can only be prescribed and supplied by a veterinarian (some of these can be sourced and administered by a trainer). There is the same requirement to record substances which could elevate plasma carbon dioxide, hydrocortisone, methoxytyramine within out of competition in the racehorse. To record all of the above administrations is important as these could elevate concentrations to exceed the relevant International Thresholds in out of competition testing (OOCT) collected specimens. Findings of the above substances at a concentration exceeding the thresholds may not be actionable if legitimate treatments are appropriately recorded in the relevant Veterinary Treatment Register.

For therapeutic substances in classes 3, 4 and 5 which are prosecuted to be present during out of competition testing (or exceeding an International Threshold) the guide is a penalty of 20% either side of the lowest scale on the table of the penalties corresponding to race day findings.


 

Classification of Prohibited Substances  

Class 1: Substances which have no place in horseracing, including illegal or Forbidden Substances. 

Included are substances forbidden in racing (including Forbidden Substances) susteroids and ester preparations thereof. Also included are schedule 7 and 8 substances as determined by the Medicines Control Council, substances which are illegally sourced, human recreational drugs of abuse, insulin and Forbidden Substances as detailed in the Rules of the NHA (Appendix M) and which is inclusive of growth promoters, growth hormones, erythropoietins, synthetic haemoglobin oxygen carriers, snake venoms and ethanol.

Class 2: Substances which have an obvious effect on the performance of the horse.

These substances will affect the performance of the horse. Substances include central nervous system depressants and stimulants (excluding caffeine), barbiturates, cardiovascular system depressants and stimulants, psychoactive and psychotrophic drugs and neuromuscular blocking agents. Also included are local anaesthetics (excluding procaine), narcotic analgesics, natural and synthetic opioids, opiate agonists, opioid agonist-antagonists, ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) and progesterones / oestrogens (if administered to the male horse).

Class 3: Substances which have the potential to affect the performance of the horse with the potential to be abused.

Drugs that may or may not have a generally accepted medical use in the racehorse, but pharmacologically have less potential to affect performance than drugs in Class 2. Substances include sedatives, antihypertensives, antihypotensives, cardiac glycosides, antiarrhythmic agents, respiratory stimulants, tranquillizers, benzodiazepines and caffeine.

Class 4: Substances which have a generally accepted veterinary (therapeutic) use in the racehorse but which have the potential to affect performance.

Substance classes include corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), diuretics, bronchodilators, skeletal muscle relaxants, non-narcotic analgesics, antipyretics and procaine.

Class 5: Substances which have an accepted veterinary use in horses but which may have performance modifying ability.

Examples include expectorants, antitussives, anti-diarrhoeals, anti-allergic drugs, antihistamines, anti-coagulants, haemostatics, antispasmodics and choleretic digestives.

Prohibited substance list

This list is inclusive of the local veterinary and human substances considered most important in treatment or of particular concern within horseracing in South Africa. This is not an exhaustive list


Prohibited Substance
(or metabolite or pro-drug)


Class

 

A

 

Acebutolol

3

Acepromazine

3

Acetazolamide

4

Acetaminophen (Paracetamol)

4

Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin)

4iv,vii

ACTH human synthetic (Adrenocorticotropic hormone)

2

Adrenaline

2

Adrenocorticotropic hormone
(ACTH human synthetic )

2

Albuterol (Salbutamol)

1 i

Albuterol (Salbutamol)

4 i

Alcohol (Ethanol)

1

Alfaxalone

2

Alfentanil

2

Allopurinol

3

Alprazolam

3

Altrenogest (in the male horse)

2

Ambroxol

5

Amiloride

4

Aminophylline

4

Amitriptylline

2

Arsenic

3 iv, vi

Aspirin (Acetylsalicylic acid)

4iv,vii

Atenolol

3

Atropine

5

Azaperone (Azapropazone)

3


B

 

Baclofen

4

Beclomethasone

4

Benazepril

3

Betamethasone

4

Bisoprolol

3

Bromazepam

3

Bromhexine

5

Brotizolam

3

Budesonide

4

Buflomedil

3

Bupivacaine

2

Buprenorphine

2

Buspirone

2

Butorphanol

2


C

 

Caffeine

3

Capsaicin

4

Captopril

3

Carbocysteine

5

Carbon dioxide (total)

2 v,vi

Carprofen

4

Carvedilol

3

Cathine (Norpseudoephedrine)

2

Celecoxib

4

Cetirizine

5

Chlorpheniramine

5

Chlorpromazine

3

Chlorthalidone

4

Cinnarizine

5

Citalopram

3

Clanobutin

5

Clenbuterol

1i

Clenbuterol (valid veterinary prescription)

4i

Clidinium

5

Clobetasol

4

Clobetasol propionate

4

Clomipramine

2

Clonazepam

3

Clonidine

3

Codeine

2

Cobalt

3iv,viii

Cortisone

4


D

 

Dantrolene

4

Dembrexine

5

Detomidine

3

Dexamethasone

4

Dextromethorphan

5

Dextropropoxyphene

2

Diamorphine (Heroin)

1

Diazepam

3

Diclofenac

4 vii

Digoxin

3

Diethyl amine salicylate

4iv,vii

Dihydrocodeine

2

Dimethyl Sulphoxide (DMSO)

4iv,vi

Diphenhydramine

5

Diphenylpyraline

5

Diprenorphine

2

Dipyrone (Metamizole)

4

DMSO (Dimethyl Sulphoxide)

4iv,vi

Dopamine

3

Doxapram

3


E

 

Enalapril (Enalaprilat)

3

Enalaprilat (Enalapril)

3

Ephedrine

4

Epinephrine

2

Erythropoietin (EPO)

1

Ethanol

1

Ethinyl Estradiol (in the male horse)

2

Ethylestrenol (in the male horse)

2

Etofylline

4

Etoricoxib

4

Etorphine

2

F

 

Fenoterol

4

Fentanyl

2

Firocoxib

4

Flavoxate

5

Fludrocortisone

4

Fluticasone propionate

4

Flumethasone (Flumetasone)

4

Flunitrazepam

3

Flunixin

4

Fluocinolone

4

Fluoxetine

2

Fluphenazine

2

Flurazepam

3

Flurbiprofen

4 vii

Fluticasone

4

Formoterol

4

Furosemide

4


G

 

Gabapentin

2

Glycopyrrolate

4

Growth Hormone (GH)

1

Guaifenesin

5


H

 

Haloperidol

3

Haemoglobin glutamers

1

Haemoglobin oxygen carrier

1

Heroin (Diamorphine)

1

Hydrochlorthiazide (Hydrochlorothiazide)

4

Hydrocodone

2

Hydrocortisone

4

Hydrocortisone hemisuccinate

4

Hydroproxygesterone caproate
(in the male horse)

2

Hydroxyprogesterone (in the male horse)

2

Hydroxyzine

3

Hyoscine (Scopolamine)

5

Hyoscine-N-butylscopolamine

5


I

 

Ibuprofen

4

Imipramine

2

Indapamide

4

Indomethacin

4

Insulin

1

Ipratropium

4

Irbesartan

3

Isoxsuprine

4


K

 

Ketamine

2

Ketoprofen

4 vii

Ketorolac

4


L

 

Labetalol

3

Lamotrigine

3

Levodopa     

3

Levonorgestrol

2

Lidocaine (Lignocaine)

2

Lisinopril

4

Loperamide

5

Loratidine

5

Lorazepam

3

Lormetazepam

3

Lornoxicam

4

Losartan

3


M

 

Medetomidine

3

Medroxyprogesterone (in the male horse)

2

Medroxyprogesterone acetate
(in the male horse)

2

Mefenamic acid

4

Meloxicam

4

Meperidine (Pethidine)

2

Mepyramine maleate

5

Mephenesin

4

Mepivacaine

2

Meprobromate (Meprobamate)

3

Methocarbamol

4

Methyl salicylate

4iv,vii

Methyldopa

3

Methylphenidate

2

Methylprednisolone

4

Metoclopramide

5

Metoprolol

3

Midazolam

4

Minoxidil

3

Mometasone furoate

4

Morphine

2


N

 

N-Acetylcysteine

5

Nalbuphine

2

Naloxone

2

Naltrexone

2

Nandrolone (Nortestosterone)

1

Naproxen

4

N-butylscopolamine

5

N-butyl-Scopolamine

5

Neostigmine

5

Nifedipine

3

Nitrazepam

3

Nitroglycerine

2

Norpseudoephedrine (Cathine)

5

Nortestosterone (Nandrolone)

1


O

 

Oestradiol

2

Oxazepam

3

Oxybutynin

5

Oxycodone

2

Oxymorphone

2

Oxyphenbutazone

1


P

 

Paracetamol (Acetaminophen)

4

Parecoxib

4

Paroxetine

2

Pemoline

2

Pentobarbital

2

Pergolide

3

Pethidine (Meperidine)

2

Phenazone

4

Pheniramine     

5

Phenobarbital (Phenobarbitone)

2

Phenylbutazone

1

Phenylpropanolamine

3

Piretanide

4

Piroxicam

4

Prazepam

3

Prednisolone

4

Prednisolone hemisuccinate

4

Prednisone

4

Prilocaine

2

Probenecid

5

Procaine

4 iii

Prochlorperazine

5

Progesterone

2

Propafenone

3

Propantheline (Propanthelline)

5

Propofol

2

Propranolol

3

Pseudoephedrine

3

Pyrilamine maleate

5


R

 

Ractopamine

1

Ramifenazone (Isopyrin)

4

Reserpine

3

Risperidone

2

Robenacoxib

4

Rofecoxib

4

Romifidene

3

Ropivacaine

2


S

 

Salbutamol (Albuterol)

1 ii

Salbutamol (valid veterinary prescription)

4 ii

Salicylic acid

4iv,vii

Salmeterol

4

Scopolamine (Hyoscine)

4

Scopolamine N-Butyl

5

Sertraline

3

Sibutramine

5

Sildenafil

3

Somatropin

1

Sotalol

3

Spirinolactone

3

Succinyl choline

3

Sufentanil

2

Sumatriptan

4

Synephrine

3


T

 

Temazepam

3

Terbutaline

4

Testosterone

1

Testosterone cypionate

1

Testosterone undecanoate

1

Tetracaine

2

Tetramisole

5

Theobromine

4

Theophylline

4

Thiafentanyl

2

Tiletamine

2

Tilidine

2

Timolol

3

Torsemide

4

Total carbon dioxide

2v

Tramadol

2

Tranexamic acid

5

Trenbolone

1

Trenbolone acetate

1

Triamcinolone

4

Triamcinolone acetonide

4

Triazolam

3

Trimipramine

2

Tiludronic acid

3ix

UVWXY

 

 

Valerenic acid

4

Valsartan

3

Vedaprofen

4

Venlafaxine

2

Verapamil

3

Vitamin B12 (Cobalt containing)

3iv,viii

Warfarin

5

Xylazine

3

Yohimbine

5

Zolzazepam

3


Z

 

Zeranol

1

Zilpaterol

1

Zolmitriptan

4

Zolpidem

2

Zopiclone

3

Zolazepam

3

Note that the above list is not comprehensive of all the substances being screened at the NHA Laboratory.


i     Refer to “Notes on Clenbuterol”.
ii    Refer to “Notes on Salbutamol”.
iii   Refer to “Notes on Procaine”.
iv   Refer to “Notes on easily accessible, common preparations”.
v    Refer to “Notes on substances which could elevate total Carbon Dioxide level”.
vi   Refer to “Notes on out of competition administration of substances”.
vii  Refer to “Notes on over-the-counter and shop front anti-inflamatories”.
viii Refer to “Notes on a Cobalt”.
ix   Refer to “Conditions on the use of Tiludronic acid (a bisphosphonate)”.


Notes on Clenbuterol 

Clenbuterol is a therapeutic substance found in local veterinary products for oral and also injectable administration. As a bronchodilator with action to “reduce reversible airway obstruction” it is primarily prescribed for horses which suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD). This condition described as “difficulty to breathe, often progressively getting worse” is quite prevalent in South Africa due to sometimes dusty stable environments and local climatic conditions. It is frequently prescribed to racehorses as part of a treatment regimen extending over several days.


Internationally the IFHA has assigned Clenbuterol as an “anabolic agent” with a classification corresponding to the NHA guidance of “Class 1” and it being a “Forbidden Substance”. This classification applies to the substance type “beta-2 agonists”, which includes Clenbuterol. This IFHA “Class 1” classification applies “unless the substance is prescribed by a veterinarian as a bronchodilator”. The reference to its anabolic effects is as a result of studies indicating that it increases muscle mass and protein synthesis.

When a positive finding of Clenbuterol is declared in the racehorse it is important for Inquiry Boards to consider the circumstances surrounding this positive and which classification is to be applied.

To be considered includes the aspects:

  • The Clenbuterol preparation “Ventipulmin” is a powder which is administered orally and will often be stored in the feed room. The possibility therefore exists that this could end up in the incorrect horse’s feed.
  • Clenbuterol treatment is often a treatment regime of several days (for example 7 days or more).
  • The elimination of multiple doses of Clenbuterol from a horse can be detected for at least 6 days.

Inquiry boards which adjudicate on positive findings for Clenbuterol must therefore be mindful that if there is any another horse in the particular stable yard which has been correctly prescribed and recorded Clenbuterol, then there must be consideration to have the offence re-classified not being Class 1 but of a higher class.

Notes on Salbutamol (as contained in inhalers)

Human asthma has a high prevalence and inhalers which contain salbutamol, budesonide, fenoterol, terbutaline, salmeterol, ipratopium or fluticasone are commercially available for the treatment of such conditions. Several brands of such inhalers contain salbutamol and these are sold as Schedule 2 (S2) medication. S2 medication does not require a prescription. S2 medication is available at the pharmacy counter if the personal details of the patient are supplied.

It has been observed such salbutamol preparations are purchased by non-veterinarians and are administered to racehorses by means of “equine inhaler masks”. Such administration could be for conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD). It must be noted that salbutamol is a beta-2 agonist which is classified as a Forbidden Substance (classification Class 1) in the rules of the NHA, in line with international policy from the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. The relevant section of the rules of the NHA states “Forbidden Substance unless the substance is prescribed by a veterinarian as a bronchodilator at the appropriate dose and is reflected in the treatment record of the horse”.

As a Class 1 substance a finding of salbutamol in the racehorse is associated with high penalty and a ban from horseracing for a 6-month period. It is therefore important to note that salbutamol use, even in the form of an inhaler which is readily available from a pharmacy, must be prescribed by a veterinarian. It must be specified for the treatment of a particular horse. The preparation must be labelled according to the requirements of the NHA and the horse name and the treatment regimen must be completed in a relevant Veterinary Treatment Register.


Notes on Procaine (as contained in procaine penicillin)

Procaine positives are most likely associated with the administration of procaine penicillin and this has been taken into consideration in the placement of procaine into Class 4 instead of Class 2 with other local anesthetics, unless evidence suggests a Class 2 contravention. 

Notes on readily easily accessible, common preparations. 

  • Aspirin
    This commercial product contains acetyl salicylic acid which is precursor of salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a substance found in nature and in equine feed. There is an international threshold value for salicylic acid exceeding which a prohibited substance finding is declared.

 

  • Liniments, rubs and other preparations containing salicylic acid

Preparations which contain salicylic acid, acetyl salicylic acid, diethylamine salicylate and methylsalicylate are precursors of salicylic acid. There is an international threshold value for salicylic acid in both plasma and urine, exceeding which a prohibited substance finding is declared.
Medication and preparation labels must be checked as to whether they contain any of the above salicylic acid precursors. These could include powders, liquids and topical applied ointments and gels. Preparations include Salsprin (injectable), Sloan’s Heat Rub cream, Reparil Gel, IceVet, oil of wintergreen / wintergreen oil, Thermo Rub, Rigly Horse Liniment; Deep Heat Rub, Equiline Liniment Liquid, Oil of Wintergreen, Sprain Liniment Gel; Vet Balm; Sebbaderm shampoo, Vetsence Otiderm and Sodium Salicyl (this is not an exhaustive list).

  • Vitamin B12
    The element cobalt is an integral part of vitamin B12. The administration of vitamin B12 has the effect of increasing the natural plasma and urine level of cobalt in both urine and plasma. There is an international threshold value for cobalt in both plasma and urine, exceeding which a prohibited substance finding is declared.
    Well-known products include Red Cell, Hemo-15, V.A.M. injection, Kyro B + Liver, Kyrovital, Kyrophos Metabolic, Catasol, Intravit, Biosol, Iron Power, Hemopar, Vitamaster, Hemostam, Ultra-Fer 300 and Total Control (this is not an exhaustive list).

Notes on substances which can elevate the total Carbon Dioxide level of the blood

The administration of products and preparations which contain bicarbonate has the result of increasing the total Carbon Dioxide level of the blood. There is an international threshold value for total Carbon Dioxide exceeding which a prohibited substance finding is declared (a Class 2 offence).
Note that total Carbon Dioxide levels can also be elevated by means of alkalinisation agents. These could be buffers, drenches and drips and can include alkalinising agents such as bicarbonates, citrates, succinates, acetates, propionates, maleates, lactates, trometamol, tris buffer or trometamine (this is not an exhaustive list). Included are products described as urinary alkalinisers and “hind gut buffers”.

Notes on the out of competition administration of arsenic, cobalt, dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO), prednisolone and salicylic acid and substances which could elevate plasma total carbon dioxide, hydrocortisone and methoxytyramine

Note that the out of competition use of preparations and products which contain the substances arsenic, cobalt (vitamin B12), dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO), hydrocortisone, prednisolone and salicylic acid must be recorded in the relevant veterinary treatment register even though these are not all schedules medications which are only be prescribed and supplied by a veterinarian (some of these can be sourced and administered by a trainer).

The same requirement to record substances which could elevate plasma carbon dioxide, hydrocortisone and methoxytyramine in the racehorse out of competition testing and elevate such levels in out of competition testing (OOCT) collected specimen.

These will not be actionable if a legitimate treatment is appropriately recorded in the relevant Veterinary Treatment Register.


Notes on over-the-counter / shop front anti-inflammatories

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) are pharmaceutical substances which are prescribed for the treatment of muscle and joint injury, pain, swelling and inflammation. These can also be obtained in the form of tablets, capsules and injections by medical prescription or when dispensed by a pharmacist. These non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can however also be obtained in certain products which do not have a pharmaceutical schedule and are sold in shops and pharmacies without a prescription. The use of such preparations in racehorses can result in positive findings for these prohibited substances. These preparations are normally liniments or bandage packs, with a few examples listed below:

  • Voltaren Emulgel containing diclofenac
  • Fastum containing ketoprofen
  • Transact containing flurbiprofen
  • Deep Heat and Reparil Gel which are sources of salicylic acid

It is important to adhere to suitable withdrawal periods when using such preparations in horses.

 

Notes on cobalt (as contained Vitamin B12 and supplements)

Cobalt is naturally found in all animals and animal feed and is considered an essential dietary trace element and micronutrient. Cobalt deficiency is not observed in horses in the wild and the normal diet of horses in combination with the usual prescribed vitamin supplementation should supply the horse with sufficient cobalt for its well-being and health. Cobalt is classed as a ’heavy metal’ and is a structural component of vitamin B12 (cobalamin). This vitamin is involved in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system and in the final stages of red blood cell formation and maturation. All of cobalt’s potential physiological effects in the horse have not yet been determined; however, high doses can present severe toxic effects and can be detrimental to the health of the horse.

Evidence suggests that cobalt preparations are being used inappropriately in racehorses in some racing jurisdictions. As cobalt is naturally present in equine biological samples such as blood and urine, it was decided that the introduction of an international threshold for cobalt is necessary to facilitate the control of misuse in racehorses.

Trainers are advised that the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) has set an international threshold of 0.1 microgram per millilitre cobalt in horse urine and 0.025 microgram per millilitre cobalt (free and protein bound) in horse plasma. The NHA, as a signatory country of the IFHA, has adopted these thresholds in its rules. This decision was made following a survey which showed that natural levels of cobalt in racehorses within South Africa correspond to those observed in other countries and that the threshold can be applied to the local population.  Any finding of cobalt above this international threshold is a Class 3 offence, as detailed in this document.

A large range of registered oral and injectable veterinary supplements which contain vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) or cobalt salts are available for use in the horse. The administration of any of these could give rise to an elevation of total cobalt levels in blood and urine. There is not a listing of commercial preparations which contain cobalt as it will be difficult to keep the list complete. Be aware of the amount of cobalt provided to the horse (also from dietary sources) and follow the guidance on the NHA website for the withdrawal of products which contain significant amounts of cobalt.

Note that many feeds contain relatively high levels of cobalt. Feeds with 0.4 mg cobalt/kg feed or higher are considered fortified feeds. The use of such fortified feeds increase cobalt concentration but have not been shown to result in cobalt levels which would exceed the urine threshold. Note that the use of such feeds would eliminate the need for any other cobalt supplementation in the horse.

Conditions on the use of Tiludronic acid (a bisphosphonate).

Bisphosphonates is a class of drug which prevents the loss of bone density in the racehorse.
These substances are prohibited substances within the Rules of the NHA:
“73.4.1 Substances capable at any time of causing an action or effect, or both an action and effect … 73.4.1.6 the musculoskeletal system”.

There is now an allowance by which older racehorse are allowed to be treated for osteoporosis (which results in low bone density bones which are brittle and could break) which do occur with older horses.

 

The formal International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) statement within Article 6 of the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering is:

Any bisphosphonate is not to be administered to a racehorse:

  • under the age of three years and six months as determined by its recorded date of birth; and
  • on the day of the race or on any of the 30 days before the day of the race in which the horse is declared to run.

The bisphosphonate product administered must be licensed for use in horses in the country in which it is being used, and be administered in accordance with the label instructions.

There must be a diagnosis determined by a veterinary surgeon that supports the use of a bisphosphonate as an appropriate treatment, and such treatment must be administered by a veterinary surgeon.


There is the requirement that:

  • Only local registered horse-approved drug substances are used.
    There is only one such licensed for use in horses in South Africa, called Tildren which contains Tiludronic acid (also known as Tiludronate).
    Other, locally available human preparations and non-licensed and non-registered products and other bisphosphonates may not be used.
  • That the horse must be an older horse (not still a growing horse).
    the racehorses must be 3.5 years old at least (the age when osteoporosis may become problematic).
    There must be control by means of a veterinarian and a formal treatment regimen from a veterinarian (according to the recommendations for the specific product).
  • That younger racehorses (below the age of 3.5 years) may not receive this treatment (as osteoporosis treatment should not be required).
  • It is specified that the use of such medication must be prescribed and controlled by a veterinarian and that such treatment must be well-detailed by the veterinarian in the VTR of the corresponding horse and trainer.

It must be noted that:

  • a positive finding will result when it is detected in a racehorse younger than 3.5 years.
  • that a positive finding will result if it is detected in a racehorse older than 3.5 years - if an official, corresponding diagnosis and prescription is not in place.
  • that a positive finding when result if it is detected on a race day in a racehorse older than 3.5 years - if a 30-day withdrawal period was not complied with.
  • There must be an official diagnosis determined by a veterinary surgeon that supports the use of a bisphosphonate (Tildren) as an appropriate treatment.
  • Tildren must administered in accordance with the product label instructions.
  • Tildren treatments must be administered by a veterinary surgeon.

 

Guidelines for Penalties for Prohibited Substances

Penalties for Prohibited Substances – Rule 73.2 Contraventions 

Class 1Substances which have no place in horseracing, including illegal or Forbidden Substances.

Class 2Substances which have an obvious effect on the performance of the horse.

Class 3Substances which have the potential to affect the performance of the horse with the potential to be abused. 

Class 4:  Substances which have a generally accepted veterinary (therapeutic) use in the racehorse but which have the potential to affect performance.

Class 5:  Substances which have an accepted veterinary use in horses but which may have performance modifying ability.

 

CLASS OF

SUBSTANCE

 

FIRST

OFFENCE

 

SECOND

OFFENCE

 

THIRD

OFFENCE

 

FOURTH

OFFENCE

1

R115K – Warning

              Off

R287K to Warning

              Off

R575k to Warning

              Off

-

2

R69K to R115K

R115K to Warning

              Off

R287K to Warning

              Off

R575k to Warning

              Off

3

R34K to R69K

R69K to R103K

R172K to Warning

              Off

R287K to Warning

              Off

4

R23K to R46K

R34K to R80K

R92K to R172K

R172K to Warning

              Off

5

Warning to R17K

R17K to R34K

R34K to R69K

R80K and Upwards

NOTE:

  • The above penalty range serve as guide and not an absolute requirement.
  • Inquiry boards must be mindful of the stake and quality of the race in determining a suitable penalty (i.e. Maiden race vs Group 1 race).

 

The following guidelines will be applied by Inquiry Boards when dealing with Prohibited Substance offences: 

1. The nature of Rule 73.2 contraventions

1.1    It must be appreciated that Rule 73.2 will apply to all classes of prohibited substance contraventions. A contravention of Rule 73.2, under any of the five classifications, remains a contravention of Rule 73.2.

1.2.  This considering, by virtue of the different classes of contraventions, some contraventions of this Rule may be viewed in a more serious light than others. For example, a Class 2 substance should not be equated to a contravention involving a Class 5 substance. Inquiry Boards are thus advised that, in considering prior offences, an Inquiry Board must be guided and influenced by the category in which any prior offence was classified. A prior offence in a lessor category should not be slavishly regarded as the equivalent of a prior offence in a more serious category (class of substance).

2. Warning off

2.1  Inquiry Boards are advised to bear in mind that the schedule of penalties reflected on the proposed penalty guideline document are nothing more than that (that being guidelines), and these should not be applied mechanically. Inquiry Boards must apply their minds to the facts relevant to any particular matter (as well as the nature of any prior contraventions), so as to ensure that disqualifications are only imposed in circumstances which properly justify the disqualification or warning off of a trainer.
 2.2.  In applying the guidelines, an Inquiry Board should always be mindful that where the guidelines make reference to a “warning off”, this is not the only option to adopt. There may well be other factors, such as the nature of the prior offences, which should be considered in arriving at a suitable penalty. A number of factors which should be considered are referred to in this document.

3. The time period applicable to prior offences

It is accepted that a prior offence, which occurred more than 5 years prior to the contravention being inquired into, will be disregarded for the purpose of applying the guidelines.

4. Rule 73.1 contraventions

It is emphasised that a contravention of Rule 73.1 (“administration”) will not necessarily be dealt with in accordance with these guidelines. In general, administration is considered in a more serious light than a contravention of the “strict liability” rule, Rule 73.2.