NZ Horse & Pony - - Ask The Experts -

Q My ques­tion is about se­da­tion. If I was to have my horse se­dated by the vet to have her teeth done just be­fore a show, I’d like to know if the seda­tives used are swab­bable, and if so, what’s the with­hold­ing pe­riod be­fore they are al­lowed to com­pete again? Ma­rina, via email

Vet Dave replies:

Ma­rina, this is an ex­cel­lent ques­tion and well worth con­sid­er­ing, as se­da­tion is most cer­tainly swab­bable. Firstly, this an­swer is only a gen­er­al­i­sa­tion and should in no way re­place seek­ing ad­vice from your own vet, as the ac­tual with­hold will de­pend on the spe­cific drug or drugs used, the amount, the du­ra­tion and the route by which they were ad­min­is­tered, and with con­sid­er­a­tion also of any other med­i­ca­tion that is be­ing ad­min­is­tered.

The New Zealand Equine Vet­eri­nary As­so­ci­a­tion (NZEVA) pro­duces a list of de­tec­tion times for drugs for rac­ing and eques­trian sport’s world gov­ern­ing body, the FEI, also pro­duces its own list of de­tec­tion times; de­tec­tion time be­ing the length of time a er ad­min­is­tra­tion of a drug which the drug can still be de­tected in the sys­tem.

With­hold time is the pe­riod of time a er ad­min­is­tra­tion a er which there is no drug re­main­ing in the sys­tem – this is markedly dif­fer­ent from de­tec­tion time.

As you would ex­pect, the de­tec­tion times given are solely in­tended as a guide for vet­eri­nar­i­ans in es­tab­lish­ing with­hold times.

e ma­jor­ity of drugs used for se­da­tion have a de­tec­tion time that varies be­tween two to three days. From this, vets will usu­ally rec­om­mend a four- to ve-day with­hold time. is is very much a gen­er­al­i­sa­tion and the ex­act time is best spec­i­fied by your own vet who is ad­min­is­ter­ing the se­da­tion.

It is worth bear­ing in mind that it is the owner’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that their horse is free from pro­hib­ited med­i­ca­tion at the time of com­pe­ti­tion. Un­less you have a very spe­cific rea­son for us­ing se­da­tion close to a com­pe­ti­tion it is bet­ter to err on the side of cau­tion and have any se­da­tion per­formed with ex­tra with­hold time up your sleeve.

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