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Friday, January 4, 2013

Illegal Equine Supplements!!!!

Carolina Gold
Magnesium Sulfate
The supplements imaged above are both considered "performance enhancing" drugs and are banned from use in horses of all disciplines!! Why am I posting this information you ask? Please take a moment to read the story about "Humble" the pony that was recently published in The New York Times. This pony died suddenly at a major horse event after being administered an injectable "supplement" by the horse trainer. A published medication sheet indicated that the pony was treated with Estrone, Depo Provera, Banamine, and Dexamethasone multiple times in the 48 hrs preceding his sudden death! The medication that was administered just prior to the pony's sudden death was not listed and remains unknown. 

If this story does not upset you then read about all group of polo ponies that died due to an over-dose of a supplememt called Biodyl. This supplement contains vitamine B12, selenium, potassium, and magnesium. Oddly enough, this supplement is very popular in the illegal sport of rooster fighting!!

These stories are examples of the gross and inappropriate actions by horse trainers and veterinarians with regards to the type and frequency of medications given to show horses. Some supplements are "home made" such as Carolina Gold and there is no telling what substances are mixed into the bottle. Other supplements are FDA approved medications such as Magnesium Sulfate which are used in appropriately in horses to enhance performance. Too often, the result of excessive use is sudden death due to cardiovascular collapse.

I urge to know exactly what your horses are being treated with and ask the question "why". Please read below about the product called "Carolina Gold". Although this drug has not been associated with sudden death, it is illegal and its use may result in hazardous riding conditions!

The active ingredient in "Carolina Gold" is known as Gabapentin or "GABA".  When administered, it acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter and therefore has the potential to be anxiolytic, analgesic, anticonvulsant, and sedative. In human medicine, GABA containing drugs are prescribed for epilepsy and neuropathic pain. Adverse side effects include dizziness  fatigue  and drowsiness, to name a few.

In veterinary medicine it has been used sparingly to control seizures in foals. In addition, it has been classified as a class 3 performance enhancing drug by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Interestingly, this product was introduced into the performance horse world as a means to "calm" horses just before entering the show arena! In February of last year, the USEF officially banned this product from you in performance horses.


  1. Great post, even though it's sad. It's scary what we might unkowingly do to horses (and other animals) for the sake of performance. It's even sadder when we are aware of the potential side affects.

  2. Scott Richardson, DVMJanuary 4, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Good morning and interesting read. Remember that the Biodyl was and to my knowledge still is a legal supplement in France. The problem with this one was as you pointed out, is that it was and is not a legal supplement here in the US. It should also be pointed out that the compounder that made the medication for the veterinarian did not properly make it. They made one of the drugs in it way to strong causing an anaphalactic reaction. I have yet to read the final board ruling on this case so far. The veterinarian claims that the compounder messed it up, they claimed that he gave the wrong formula. Either way he will most likely loose his license to practice in FL as the drug was ordered for a non US liscened team veterinarian. I do agree completely that many owners have know idea what their horse is getting from these trainers. It is a very dirty industry and the chemists are 2 steps ahead of the regulators.

  3. Thanks for the information. I have been trying to find out more information about horse supplements. It seems that if you use them in the appropriate dosage they can be really great for horses' health and performance.

  4. I hope that the horse joint supplements are going to help those that need it. Keep up the great posts.

  5. I appreciate this. I've got some good friends that own horses, and they do an amazing job at keeping them healthy. Apart of that was keeping up with their horse supplements and making sure they at plenty. This was great! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I also really appreciate you posting this. I don't want to use suppliments that are illegal. Do you happen to know of a good horse supplements company online?