Dr. Mary Scollay Talks Drug Testing and the Role of the Regulatory Veterinarian

March 23, 2017

Tucson, AZ — The Race Track Industry Program was fortunate to host Dr. Mary Scollay, the equine medical director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, on Wednesday, March 22. Dr. Scollay spoke in the Joe Hirsch Speaker Forum and the Advanced Animal Racing Laws and Enforcement class.

In the Joe Hirsch Speaker Forum, Dr. Scollay focused on drug testing and medication regulation. Specifically, she talked about the reasons that therapeutic medications may be administered, the positive effects that regulating corticosteroids has had on the health of the racing population, and different drug testing methods. She also discussed the significance of medication concentrations and the increasing issue of environmental contamination being used as a defense when a horse gets a medication positive.

During the Advanced Animal Racing Laws and Enforcement class, Dr. Scollay lectured about the role of the regulatory veterinarian and strategies that can be used to prevent racing injuries. She noted that the main job of a regulatory veterinarian is to be an unconditional advocate for the racehorse. This is accomplished through monitoring equine soundness, managing equine emergencies, and overseeing test barn operations. Some resources that were noted as valuable to reducing the incidence of racing injuries were pre-race exams, knowing a horse’s exercise history, and drug testing intelligence.

The last part of Dr. Scollay’s lecture concerned protocols for handling major racing events such as the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup. While Dr. Scollay stressed that the same level of integrity, safety, and welfare should be applied to all levels of horses and races, some additional measures are taken during and in advance of these events. These measures include far-reaching out-of-competition testing, in-stall exams and on-track monitoring in the week before the race, and consultations with other regulatory veterinarians.