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Reply To: VNCert EEC Exam Question: Blood Gas

Gail Smith

As an aside: I know horses are not small animals but this is interesting

When I was in the US many years ago I ran blood gas/drug screening on the racetrack in Chicago (1995-ish)
In the States they do something called ‘milkshaking’ Basically they add bicarb to about 1-2kg of sugar, mix it into a paste then stomach tube it into the horses pre-race
The theory was that pacing/trotting horses switch to anaerobic respiration at the quarter of a mile point and this ‘concoction’ delays that switch to anaerobic respiration. BUT vets were noticing major issues with thermoregulation/hemostatis so some states banned ‘milkshaking’ Blood was pulled from all horses 6hrs pre-post time and blood gas run (HCO3, Na and pH) If these values were indicative of the milkshaking thing then the horses was re-tested and banned from racing if not satisfied. Different parameters were given to horses receiving Lasix (frusemide) – yes, they administer frusemide to horses that bleed from their lungs when they run (barbaric is it not!!)

At the time I never really understood why it was banned but vets reported things like organs bursting and so on – i think at the time they did not really have any scientific basis for why it was bad…just weird stories about horses overheating and collapsing

Now I have been looking at this revision effectively those trainers were deliberately inducing a severe metabolic alkalosis and actually instead of maximising aerobic respiration they were in fact impairing it further. for the bleeders receiving diuretics pre-post time it was even worse

I just wondered….I assume damage to kidneys, brain and cardiac muscle was occuring here?

Not a blood gas thing but one of my jobs there was to tongue swab horses in the paddock for Cocaine. CRAZY HUH