The LASIX Debate



  • AUSIAUSI Member
    Interesting comment Markinsac - grass does have the "give" in it that dirt and synthetic doesn't. There has been a slight move to "all weather" tracks in Australia, particularly for training - they are not popular with most trainers including our greatest, Bart Cummings (12 Melbourne Cups) who is not keen on them.
    Mind you the weather plays a large part and with 12 months racing you need good surfaces (no snow helps).
    Horses break down in Australia - it is not particularly common in a country that has multiple meetings 7 days a week.
    The drug free regime in Australia is a boon - for the punter - he knows that form is as predictable as you can get it, and for the owner, who hopes that he is getting an equal opportunity.
    Anabolics were used in Australia until about 20 years ago - now a horse is allowed absolutely no treatment of any sort (internal or external) on race day and must present drug free (testing is very rigorous) - far tougher than human sports.
    The biggest problem In Australia is the recently developed predominance of Northern Dancer blood - The success of Danehill (by Danzig) in Australia has been almost overwhelming - this again is worsened by the shuttle stallions from the Northern Hemisphere (particularly from UK and Ireland) being very heavy in this blood.
    That leads me to my positive reaction to Animal Kingdom (double cross of Northern Dancer in 5th generation) - but otherwise an interesting outcross of French and German blood - time will tell.
  • It appears you Aussi people aren't very interested in American horses at breeding time which is another knock against using drugs.

    FYI, if you have an advance deposit account at TVG, Xpressbet, Twin Spires or any other, you can bet on Australia racing at about 7pm Pacific. They usually run races from three different Australia tracks with post times staggered to give the bettors time to handicap. Many races have up to 16 starters. The betting is done by American pari-mutuel standards, with the usual WIN, PLACE and SHOW plus exacta etc. betting. With the large-sized fields, the takeout is much easier to beat than a 6-horse field you would see at Santa Anita.

    Drug free racing at it's best!

    PS, watch the nights Black Caviar is racing too.
    PS2, if you open a Twin Spires account, you don't have to deposit ANY money, but you will still get access to the live video at American, English and Australian tracks free of charge.
  • AUSIAUSI Member
    For your information Mark - Black Caviars brother is being sold in the Sydney Yearling sales on Monday US time - check Google for time in Sydney - 10.30 am Sydney time - you can watch it live on - it should set an Australian record yearling price.
  • From the NY Times, I hope the statistics are accurate because it's SCATHING!
  • OMG, that is an awesome article and one that I totally believe. The "Old Guard" isn't going to like it too much!
  • They will attack the messenger, the NY Times. But will totally ignore it's contents. That's why I hope the Times got the facts right.
  • I will keep my thoughts on Lasix short and simple (for equines); GET RID OF IT.
    That is all. I could easily go into detail as to why, but it would be an absolute waste of time. This Lasix debate is one that will never be resolved, unless someone (with a lot of GUTS, for a lack of a better word) steps in and makes a solid decision, rather than just farting around with the subject.

  • (I'm glad she kept it short!)
  • ^ See? What did I tell ya. :)
  • It's too bad this issue has divided so many good people in the sport.

    Lasix has some benefits and it has some negatives. I think the negatives outweigh the benefits.
  • These are recent discussions regarding Lasix which we had under the thread Magna Fortuna (aka Taxi)... Thought it would be good to also include it onto this thread...
    This is I'll Have Another wearing an Equine Nasal Strip to help his breathing during the races. O'Neil was not allowed to use this nasal strip on the final leg for the Triple Crown. So ironic that the other horses were allowed to have Lasix in their systems during the Belmont Stakes race.

    I would think that the nasal strip would be the least invasive aid to help a horse breath ingested drugs (ie lasix) harm to the horse's system. Belmont has their priorities screwed up...they should let them all use nasal strips and not lasix instead! But that is just my novice opinion.
    I believe it's also illegal for horses racing in New York? Or so I have heard?
    Okay, now I know the horse racing industry and the regulators are crazy. Shoot, football players wear them all the time. Not equine nasal strips, but human ones. I didn't know they make them for horses. I sure wish they made them for cats; my poor Callie suffered with her allergies for about 10 of her 19 years. I've been wearing those nasal strips since they were invented. I think they are the greatest invention including sliced bread. I used to have to get allergy shots, and use nose drops which had bad side effects, but with the invention of Breathe Right strips I can sleep at night and breathe without medication. They absolutely should allow horses to use them, esp if they prevent bleeding so they could do without Lasix which has deadly side effects. Nasal strips have no side effects and are natural. I hope they reconsider this, esp. since they are allowed in human sports.
    My doctors even allowed me to wear nasal strips during two major surgeries.
    I'll Have Another always ran with Lasix in his system. If you check his PPs for his previous races he always had Lasix. My question is, if the strips are helpful in preventing bleeding, then why is O'Neill using Lasix too?
    The nasal strips helps the horse to "breathe" better by opening up the nasal passage-to get more oxygen into their system naturally. The strips do not help to stop bleeding. We use it ourselves as mentioned by VA_in_CA to breathe better while sleeping to prevent us from breathing through our mouths (ie snoring) and to open the airway for people who suffer nasal inflammations caused by allergies.

    It's Lasix that stops bleeding in certain horses...but what is a tragedy is that most race horses who are non-bleeders are given this drug anyway just to boost their performance and is allegedly used as a masking agent for other drugs. mentioned earlier, it has been medically confirmed that the use of Lasix causes the loss or imbalance of several nutrients...As with many diuretics, it causes dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, including loss of potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium! Repetitive usage over time can also be detrimental to the renal system (kidneys).

    A single dosage of Lasix takes awhile before the horse's system can regain physiological balance...probably why race horses these days cannot race as often as in the good old days.
    That part is very true, a horse these days races once a month or so due to lasix
  • Sadly, they race a lot of older horses way to often in the low claiming races which may explain why some of them just drop dead on the tract like Monzante. Look what they did with Jacob's Dream who, of course, ended up dead on the track. Unreal how often he was raced!
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited November 2014
    KMM...this thread might answer your question on when Lasix was introduced. See first entry on page 1 from the now defunct forum member Markinsac. BTW...Markinsac got himself "canned" from the Forum mid-part of this year...but he shot himself in the foot with his wild accusations...causing a tremendous angered uproar in the forum back then.

    "Horse racing is facing a myriad of problems. Perhaps one of the biggest is LASIX. Lasix is a drug that supposedly helps stop bleeding that occurs when race horses perform at top speeds. The drug was introduced in the 1970's, at a time when American race horses started at an average of over eleven times a year. Nearly every other country around the globe has banned Lasix. And those horses in foreign countries start double or sometimes triple the number of times their American counterparts do."
  • I had read articles that claimed Lasix was illegally used in the 1960's and that Northern Dancer ran on Lasix during his Triple Crown bid.
  • I thought Furosemide (Lasix) didn't come out in the US until the late 60's.
  • (from an article by the NYTHA, "The Lasix Question") Lasix wasn’t even approved for veterinary use until 1967. Just a few years later came the introduction of the fiberoptic endoscope, an equine medical advancement that finally allowed the definitive diagnosis of EIPH. Anecdotal evidence that Lasix had the potential to treat EIPH led to clinical trials in the 1970s. States began permitting its therapeutic race day use that decade.
  • Thanks, bigherbie!
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    I've stated this before, and been flamed by markinsac and Ann Maree, but from the veterinary standpoint, it is MUCH easier to PREVENT bleeding from EIPH than it is to treat it. And, even if there isn't visible evidence of bleeding (which for most countries abroad means active bleeding from the nostrils, (which is considered a grade 3 or 4 bleed), ANY bleeding will cause scarring and damage to the lungs.
  • carolinarkansascarolinarkansas hot springs, arkansasMember
    I've stated this before, and been flamed by markinsac and Ann Maree, but from the veterinary standpoint, it is MUCH easier to PREVENT bleeding from EIPH than it is to treat it. And, even if there isn't visible evidence of bleeding (which for most countries abroad means active bleeding from the nostrils, (which is considered a grade 3 or 4 bleed), ANY bleeding will cause scarring and damage to the lungs.
    I agree casey....but most don't...
  • Just curious, where is the line between the pros and cons of lasix? When does it start to become a harmful medication? And how could it be used more responsibly? Obviously, I don't know much about it. :)
  • Just my opinion but I have always disliked the policy of giving any medication that is not necessary for the health of an animal - giving Lasix to just level the playing field. Excerpt from EquiMed article on "Lasix Pros and Cons": "Putting aside the debate and controversy, it is clear that Lasix does have an effect on the blood and the cardiovascular system of the horse and more research is needed to determine whether it is truly a benefit or a hindrance to horse health."
  • Just curious, where is the line between the pros and cons of lasix? When does it start to become a harmful medication? And how could it be used more responsibly? Obviously, I don't know much about it. :)
    Having worked in the "human" medical field most of my life, I do know Lasix leaches calcium out of the bones. This can't be good for a horse, especially a racehorse. Also, this blog has some more info on Lasix and horses. However, the folks that love Lasix and drugging horses will argue every point.

  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    Ironically, Lasix is used on racedays in the US, and in training in other countries, which can mean they actually get Lasix more often than US horses.

    My OTTB, Agility, raced on Lasix. Years later, he'd run around like a lunatic, then start huffing & puffing. I always wondered if he'd started bleeding. Eventually he developed COPD
  • I do know in other countries that Lasix is used in training. It still doesn't change my opinion on long term detrimental effects of furosemide in horses or people, anywhere. People with osteoporosis should not be treated with furosemide and it can cause bone density problems in animals as well.

    Also, in my opinion, maybe we should follow some other country's rules on horses who bleed. In Australia if a horse bleeds once, blood visible in both nostrils, they get a three month ban from racing and a two month ban from training, if they bleed twice they get a lifetime ban.
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    we do have rules similar to Australia- but I think if it's visible in one nostril it's either 30 or 60 days off. I remember RIchard's Kid bled after one of his races (I went to see him after and noticed it). He was on the vet list for a period of time- it was his first bleed. Personally, I think it would be better to scope them all and look for signs of bleeding before it becomes visible with the eye. At that point, the damage is done and scarring has taken place. If we could treat when seen endoscopically, then maybe we could stop permanent damage
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