USA Today Opinion: what Lasix does and why it's controversial in Thoroughbred racing
The debate over furosemide and whether it should be viewed as a legitimate way to treat a common condition in horses or as a performance-enhancing drug has been going on since it was introduced in horse racing in the 1970s. At this point, since there are so few horses that don’t run on furosemide these days, there might not be any competitive advantage.
But after a series of devastating headlines for horse racing that stemmed from 23 horses breaking down and being euthanized in the span of three months at Santa Anita Park, a large coalition of racetracks — including all three that host Triple Crown races — announced a gradual phase-out that would make all stakes races at those tracks furosemide-free by 2021. On the surface, moving American racing away from Lasix is a blast of good publicity for the horse racing sport.
Phasing out furosemide is a sensitive matter in the industry. As trainers point out, Lasix has now been part of the genetic population for nearly 50 years, and a sudden pullback could have some unintended consequences.
To find out more about the controversial use of furosemide, read these selected publications in the IVIS website.