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Dr. Meittinis Discusses Lasix

Published: October 17, 2019 1:57 pm ET

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On Thursday, October 17, the United States Trotting Association issued a release in regard to the position of Nicholas Meittinis, DVM that the use of lasix does not compromise a horse’s musculoskeletal system.

The contents of the USTA item appear below.

Dr. Nicholas Meittinis: Lasix Doesn’t Compromise Horse’s Musculoskeletal System

In Wednesday’s (Oct. 16) Paulick Report, racing equine veterinarian and President of the North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians Nicholas Meittinis, DVM, states that “all veterinary science that I know of demonstrates lasix use does not compromise a horse’s musculoskeletal system.”

Dr. Meittinis’ article specifically refutes claims made by Thoroughbred owner and breeder Bill Casner in an opinion piece, ‘Studies Show Some Therapeutic Medications Do More Harm Than Good’ that previously appeared in the Paulick Report.

He points out that, “Casner’s cited support for the spurious conclusion that lasix contributes to breakdown injuries of horses was a series of 12 human studies involving the use of loop diuretics (lasix) by elderly men, post-menopausal women, children with heart defects, and others with underlying health and balance problems.”

Dr. Meittinis asserts that these human studies cited by Casner are inappropriate to apply to equine physiology.

“Human studies of that sort cannot be applied to condemn lasix use in horse racing for at least two reasons. The human patients all had substantial chronic issues that compromised their health. And the human subjects generally were on long-term daily doses of lasix. Horses, on the other hand, receive lasix on race day with the average horse racing six times a year, according to the Jockey Club Fact Book. Even quadrupling administration to account for lasix use in training makes it highly unlikely that such low dosage can have any significant effect on bone structure.”

Dr. Meittinis cites a University of California at Davis study of 5,000 racehorse necropsies that found no evidence of bone weakness (osteoporosis) even though an estimated 90 per cent of those horses raced on lasix.

In addition, he lists other reputable studies and opinions from Colorado State University Professor of Epidemiology Paul S. Morley (DVM, PhD, DACVIM), equine orthopedic surgeon and professor C. Wayne McIlwraith (BVSc, PhD, FRCVS, Dipl. ACVS) and regulatory veterinarian Dionne Benson, who concluded, “Of course we know that lasix has nothing to do with breakdowns,” in another previous Paulick Report story, that confirm the Cal-Davis findings.

During his 30 years as a racing equine veterinarian, a significant part of Dr. Meittinis’ career as president of the NAARV, and former member of the AAEP’s Racing Committee, has revolved around the appropriate use of therapeutic medications in racehorses.

In addition, he was a co-author of the groundbreaking AAEP White Papers regarding medication use in the racehorse and the treatment of racehorses in a pari-mutuel environment.

To read the complete story, click here.

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