Vet Sid Gustafson: 'Lasix perpetuates substandard horsemanship' - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Vet Sid Gustafson: ‘Lasix perpetuates substandard horsemanship’

The likelihood a horse will bleed and require Lasix is increased by genetics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and incompetent horsemanship, writes Sid Gustafson at the New York Times' The Rail blog.  Gustafson points out that horses evolved in an atmosphere where they were constantly in motion with their heads down while foraging for food.  He says horses need that situation recreated as much as possible to be healthy and happy and that keeping a horse in a stall all day is bad for the horse.

“The cause of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage is insensitive and deficient stabling and husbandry practices and includes diagnostic failures to detect bleeding during training,” writes Gustafson.

Gustafson writes that track conditioning is not enough to ensure a healthy, sound horse.  The best option for a racehorse would be to hand graze them. Swimming, walking or lunging the horse would also help its overall health and reduce the likelihood of bleeding. Not following these steps weakens the horse's lungs and detracts from its overall health.

“Bleeding in a race is reflective of inadequate care and preparation, of miscalculations and untoward medication practices. Lasix perpetuates substandard horsemanship, artificially suppressing the untoward result (bleeding) of inadequate preparation of the thoroughbred,” says Gustafson.

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