New Federal Rules Regarding Thoroughbred Racehorse Patients

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) oversees national, uniform integrity, and safety rules for Thoroughbred racing participants and race facilities that function under HISA in the United States. HISA recently announced the start of its next phase of implementation, the Anti-Doping and Medication Control program. The AVMA Trust is releasing this update to ensure all equine practitioners practicing in these environments are aware of the new program. 

HISA was created by Congress to establish and enforce, under the oversight of the Federal Trade Commission, a national uniform set of rules applicable to every Thoroughbred racing participant and racetrack facility.1 Racing participants include veterinarians who care for racing Thoroughbreds on and off the racetracks. The implementation of HISA rules started in July 2022 and has continued to add phases of implementation. The Anti-Doping and Medication Control program is anticipated to begin on March 27, 2023.

All racing participants, or “Covered Persons,” must register with HISA. A Covered Person is an individual who is licensed by a State Racing Commission (SRC), is involved with Thoroughbred Covered Horses or Covered Horseraces, or has access to restricted areas of a racetrack in the ordinary course of work.2

Educational programs for veterinarians currently practicing at racetracks are ongoing. However, field service practitioners who do not have a racetrack license may be at an increased risk with non-compliance because of a lack interaction with racetrack-based personnel.

For a legally practicing equine veterinarian caring for Covered Horses on or off the racetrack, there is an obligation to know, understand, and comply with HISA’s rules as the consequences are much greater than with previous infractions and may leave veterinarians exposed to these situations if their patients experience a positive drug test or incur other violations.

Banned substances may not be administered at any time to a Covered Horse—in or out of training. A list of banned substances is available here.

If you care for Thoroughbred racehorses that race in the United States and you have not registered as a Covered Person with HISA, please click here. Educational materials are available here.