ALERT: As of January 1, 2020, the California drug testing fee will now be $8 per horse entered in competition or consigned to a public sale.
Equine Medication Monitoring Program
The California equine industry sponsored legislation in 1971 to prevent misuse of drugs and medications in equines (horses, ponies, mules and donkeys) in public shows and sales. The resulting law, found in the Food and Agricultural Code (FAC) Sections 24000-24018 and in California Code of Regulations: Title 3, Division 2, Chapter 6, Section 1280, is known as the California Equine Medication Rule. To enforce the law, the California Department of Food and Agriculture manages the Equine Medication Monitoring Program (EMMP). The EMMP monitors equines in public shows, competitions and sales though random collection of blood or urine for chemical analysis.
The intent of the EMMP is to ensure the integrity of public horse shows, competitions and sales through the control of performance and disposition enhancing drugs and permitting limited therapeutic use of drugs at an equine event.
An "event" is defined in FAC Section 24001 as any public horse show, competition, or sale in which money, goods, or services are exchanged for the right to compete for a single set of placings leading to points or awards at the show or competition, or to permit a horse to be consigned for sale.
The following events are exempt from EMMP regulations:
- A rodeo-related competition, which is strictly a timed performance with no subjective judging, when held apart from a horse show. This includes barrel racing, team penning, ranch sorting, roping and gymkhana.
- A sale of solely racehorses.
- Competitions under the jurisdiction of the California Horse Racing Board.
- A public horse show in which the class or event entry fee is less than $4.99 per class and other fees do not exceed $19.99 (Other fees include, but are not limited to, grounds fees, stall fees or office fees).
- A public horse show in which all fees for participation are less than $19.99 (to include, but is not limited to class fees, grounds fees, stall fees and office fees).
To fund the EMMP, event managers collect a fee of $5.00 for each equine being entered in a public show/competition or being consigned to a public sale.
The EMMP has four components.
- Event Registration and Assessment of Fees; event managers must register their event 60 days before the event.
- Random Sample Collection from Equine Entered in Registered Events.
- Sample Chemical Analysis at the Kenneth L. Maddy Equine Analytical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of California - Davis.
- Investigation of Positive Samples and Application of Civil Penalties for Violations.
EMMP Advisory Committee
The EMMP has an advisory committee of members representing a broad range of equine disciplines regulated by the EMMP. Each California equine industry organization can nominate one representative and one alternate to the advisory committee. The advisory committee is responsible for addressing industry-related concerns about the Equine Medication and Monitoring Program. The advisory committee holds a minimum of one public meeting a year to review the EMMP.
California Equine Medication Rule: Drugs and Medication Guidelines
The Food and Agricultural Code (FAC) Sections 24000-24018 and the California Code of Regulations: Title 3, Division 2, Chapter 6, Section 1280 outline the equine medication rule for equines in public shows, competitions and sales in California. The California Equine Medication Rule, prohibits use of certain drugs or drug combinations, yet accommodates specific legitimate therapeutic use of medications within specified parameters. Owners, trainers, exhibitors, veterinarians and consignors of equines to public sales have a responsibility to be familiar with the California EMMP and the California Equine Medication Rule. The owner, trainer and consignor have responsibility to ensure full compliance with all elements of the California Equine Medication Rule. Owners, trainers, exhibitors, veterinarians and consignors of equines to public sales must comply with both the California Equine Medication Rule and any sponsoring organization drug and medication rule for an event. The more stringent medication rule applies for the event.
The California Equine Medication Rule classifies drugs as prohibited substances and permissible substances. A prohibited substance is defined as any drug or medication that is a stimulant, a depressant, a tranquilizer, an anesthetic including local anesthetic, an analgesic, an anabolic steroid, a corticosteroid (excluding dexamethasone) and a soring agent. A prohibited substance administered for therapeutic purposes must be withdrawn 24 hours before a public competition or 72 hours before a public sale. A permissible substance is a therapeutic drug or medicine or a drug or medicine found in a sample within the established maximum detectable plasma or urine levels. There are nine (9) permissible drugs with restriction on the established maximum detectable plasma or urine levels. The nine (9) permissible medications, not to exceed maximum allowable levels, include: dexamethasone (Azium®), diclofenic acid (Surpass®), firocoxib (Equioxx®), flunixin (Banamine®), ketoprofen (Ketofen®), meclofenamic acid (Arquel®), methocarbamol (Robaxin®), naproxen (Naprosyn®), and phenylbutazone (Butazolidin®).
The California Equine Medication Rule allows use of modern therapeutic pharmacologic treatments for illness or injury, unless the treatment:
1.) Involves the use of prohibited substances and the animal is not withdrawn from competition or sale following treatment,
2.) Results in the presence of more than one non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) in urine or plasma, or
3.) Results in the presence of the substance exceeding the maximum allowable level in blood or urine.
For more information on the California Equine Medication Rule visit: