This quote is part of an article by Natalie DeFee Mendik, MA published by The Horse magazine online.
We have spent a lot of time talking with you about two drugs: dermorphin, made from frog secretions said to be 40 times more powerful than morphine, used to kill pain; and the anti-bleeder Lasix, the brand name for furosemide, or Salix for use on animals.
Clenbuterol is not to be confused with phenylbutazone the pain killing drug widely used on equines of all sorts and commonly referred to as “bute”. “Clen” is a powerful bronchodilator that helps relax the airways but is also considered a performance-enhancing steroid, depending on whom you ask.
Racehorses are given this drug every day of their racing lives states the article, and comes with some unsettling news from researchers.
. . . a team of researchers at University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s (PennVet) New Bolton Center carried out a study on the topic and found that while clenbuterol initially reduces airway sensitivity to inhaled histamines, long-term use can result in reduced bronchoprotective effectiveness.
“Many horses, especially race horses, receive clenbuterol every day,” explained Rose Nolen-Walston, DVM, assistant professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at PennVet.
This alarming observation is made:
“Our study shows that after about two weeks of use, it quits working and actually makes the horses breathe a little bit worse,” Nolen-Walston explained. “The clinical significance is that clenbuterol should be used for no more than 14 days consecutively without a break. In humans, the loss of effectiveness can also be prevented by co-administration of corticosteroids, but this has not been investigated in horses.”
No study has been conducted on the effect on horses from prolonged use.
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