Medication Control Advisory to Equine Canada Members: Risk of Contaminated Feed & Compounded Products

In order to avoid the possibility of a positive test, the Equine Canada (EC) Equine Medication Control Committee (EMCC) would like to remind all competitors, owners, grooms, trainers, etc., of the risk of positive tests due to contaminated feed.

Contaminated Feed
Feed mills may manufacture different products for different species of animals at a plant, which may contain prohibited substances according to the EC Drug Classification Scheme.

This can cause residual levels of prohibited substances in feed that are legally permitted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and safe for animals, but may result in positive drug tests in racehorses and competition horses.

For example, Ractopamine is one substance in particular that has caused a number of positive tests since 2011. Ractopamine is used in other species’ feed as a growth stimulant. This is a Class 2 Violation according to the EC Drug Classification Scheme.

Questions to Consider:
·         Does your feed/supplement provider only make horse feed/supplements?
·         Does your feed/supplement provider have drugs, such as Ractopamine onsite?
·         Have you purchased hay, feeds or supplements from farmers who may have stored these products next
          to feed or supplements intended for other animal species?

Compounded Drugs
Compounded drugs are products that are specially formulated by a pharmacy or veterinarian because they are not available as a licensed product, or they may contain different concentrations or compositions compared to a licensed product. When Health Canada approves a veterinary drug, the product must meet standards of efficacy, safety, composition and stability (expiry date).

The same level of control for compounded products does not exist.  For example, one might choose to use compounded phenylbutazone or flunixin meglumine.  If the compounded product has a greater concentration than the labelled concentration, your horse could have a positive test by exceeding the allowable limit, even though the product was given in the time frame suggested in the guidelines. As with the herbal and natural products, competitors are cautioned against using these products unless they are sure of their contents, especially when an approved licensed veterinary product is available. Positive test results in such cases remain the responsibility of the Person Responsible for the horse or pony.

If there is any doubt about a medication or product, do not use it. If you use a compounded product, you do so at your own risk. Please consult with your veterinarian for advice regarding these issues.

If you have any questions on the ingredients or clearance times of any product, consult your veterinarian or EC at

Please refer to the EC Drug Classification scheme and the Table of Fines and Penalties for all Equine Prohibited Medication classes and penalties available on the Equine Medication Control Website.

For further information, including our information guide, please visit the EC website under Equine Medication Control ( or contact

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