Drugs that test at horse shows in Canada


How many times have you seen a person scouring the label of a horsecare product and anxiously asking, “Does this test?”

Equine Canada (EC) regulates national competitions in dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, general performance, hunter, jumper, para-equestrian, reining, vaulting and breed sports. When you pay your show fees at an EC-sanctioned show, you’re also paying for an Equine Medication Control Technician to work the show. This professional randomly selects horses and tests their urine and/or blood for banned substance. The technician can also perform “target tests,” where a horse is singled out for testing. EC doesn’t need to provide a reason for target testing a specific horse.

EC takes anti-doping laws seriously. If your horse is selected for testing, even a trace amount of a banned substance can be enough to strip you of your winnings, hit you with a fine or ban you from competition.

Here’s a list of common prohibited drugs:

  • Acepromazine
  • Betamethasone
  • Butorphanol
  • Cetirizine
  • Clenbuterol/ Ventipulmin
  • Cyproheptadine
  • Diclofenac
  • Dembrexine
  • Detocillin
  • Detomidine
  • Dexamethasone
  • Dimethylsulfoxide
  • Dipyrone
  • Firocoxib
  • Fluphenazine
  • Furosemide
  • Guaifenesin
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Isoxsuprine
  • Lidocaine
  • Meloxicam
  • Methocarbamol
  • Mepivacaine
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Naproxen
  • O-Desmethylvenilafaxine
  • Prednisolone
  • Procaine (Penicillin G Procaine)
  • Pyrilamine
  • Reserpine
  • Romifidine
  • Salbutamol (albuterol)
  • Stanozolol
  • Theophylline
  • Triamcinolone
  • Trichlormethiazide
  • Tripelennamine
  • Valerenic Acid (Valerian)
  • Xylazine

Keep withdrawal periods in mind too – that’s the length of time between giving the drug and when the horse can compete with little risk of “testing” and incurring a medication violation. A drug like Xylazine (aka Rompun®) won’t test after 24 hours, where Penicillin G (which contains procaine) needs 45 days to clear the horse’s system.

Remember, many allowed substances, such as nutritional supplements, are made in the same facilities as controlled substances. If the feed mill isn’t extra careful, residues of acepromazine could end up in your glucosamine. That’s why many trainers avoid putting anything special in or on their horses at competition time.

For more information on EC’s anti-doping laws, check out their website. Download the 2015 Equine Medication Control Guide for a list of allowed and prohibited drugs. If you compete with another organization, ask the show secretary for a list of banned substances.

10 thoughts on “Drugs that test at horse shows in Canada

  1. Yes we pay these fees at every show and in last two years have not seen drug tester once at our breed shows. Another big money grab as far as I am concerned. It costs us honest competitors a lot of money to pay for monitoring of druggies who will never be caught because equine Canada business commitments to its customers are not being met. And yes the members are customers!!!!!!

  2. Supplement companies test their products in ppm (parts per million) so they may not detect a banned substance in their product. Since the testing done at shows tests in pb (parts per billion), you can still easily get a positive result.

  3. It’s a urine test in Canada. Not a blood test. At least at gold shows. There isn’t a vet present for the most part to draw blood. Research your articles better!!! Seems to be a lot of questionable statements and important info left out.

    • Hi Lori, thank you for your passionate interest in this topic and for your comments. I’ve amended the post to state that the ECMT can perform a urine and/or blood test. I state that a technician performs the tests. I’ve reviewed the post several times but cannot find reference to a vet. Can you tell me where you saw the word?

  4. EC changed the rules re Previcox/Equioxx (firicoxib) for 2016. It is now allowed, to a certain point. I don’t remember what exactly it is, but I believe it works out to ~45mg/d for your average horse

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