Over the last few years there has been a nationwide cooperative effort to establish threshold concentrations and withdrawal time guidelines for corticosteroid use in racehorses. As dosing regimens are specific to individual horses and highly variable, it is not possible to establish regulatory guidelines for every dosing scenario and therefore they are often based on single dose administration studies. The goal of the study described here was to assess the applicability of current regulatory recommendations for intra-articular corticosteroids based on clinical protocols used by practitioners. A total of 58 Thoroughbred and 82 Quarter Horse racehorses received varying doses of triamcinolone acetonide, methylprednisolone acetate, isoflupredone or betamethasone intra-articularly in various joints by the treating practitioner. Blood samples were collected at 0, 7, 10, 14, 21, 28 and 35 days post drug administration and serum samples analysed by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry for quantitation of drug concentrations. Serum elimination varied depending upon the dose and the number and specific joints treated. Serum concentrations fell below the ARCI threshold guidance by Day 7 (100 pg/ml) for both triamcinolone acetonide (2-40 mg dose) and isoflupredone acetate (4-30 mg dose) and Day 21 (100 pg/ml) for methylprednisolone acetate (20-600 mg dose). Betamethasone fell below the regulatory threshold (10 pg/ml) by 7 days for all Quarter Horses and for 7/10 Thoroughbreds studied. Drug concentrations were below the regulatory threshold by Day 10 in the remaining 3 horses receiving betamethasone.
- Horse racing
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