California Horse Racing Board equine medical director under investigation, LA Times story says
According to a story written by John Cherwa, as a special contributor to The Los Angeles Times, the California Horse Racing Board’s equine medical director is now “suspected” by another agency in the state of California, the Veterinary Medical Board.
In the story, Cherwa explains in detail how Dr. Jeff Blea – who happens to be in charge of the investigation into the death of Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit – was served with a 27-page “charge”. by the State Veterinary Medical Council. .
This document was served on Blea on December 17 and, according to Cherwa, alleges that the medical director violated several state regulations in the year leading up to his appointment as equine medical director on July 1.
“The investigation began in February after VMB received an anonymous advice that Blea and other vets prescribed and gave medication without examination or medical necessity. Veterinarians Vince Baker and Sarah Graybill Jones have also received complaints. Among the drugs cited in Blea’s complaint was thyroxine, a thyroid hormone supplement that has been controversial for use in horses. CHRB was not aware of VMB’s investigation into Blea.
“The press box” confirmed that an emergency hearing was scheduled for Friday to determine whether Blea’s license should be temporarily suspended. There is nothing in the law that says the California Equine Medical Director must have a veterinary license.
According to Cherwa, Blea declined to comment on the “charges” or the investigation.
Chrewa quotes Scott Chaney, executive director of the California Horse Racing Board:
“I have known and worked with Dr Blea for over 20 years, and during that time I have never met a veterinarian so dedicated to the care of horses,” said Chaney. “From my perspective, he has always displayed high ethical standards. In short, he has dedicated his life to the protection and promotion of animal welfare. I look forward to Dr. Blea continuing to serve CHRB and the horse racing industry during the formal procedural phase of this matter. “
According to Cherwa’s article, the complaint alleges eight grounds for discipline. They are, as stated:
- Neglect in prescribing, dispensing or administering medication or medication without examining a horse or making a diagnosis. The complaint cites six horses he tended. Horses are not named, but identified by initials. All of the claims involve the same set of horses.
- Distribution of dangerous drugs without medical necessity involving six horses. Despite the “dangerous” label, most drugs are commonly used, such as Lasix and vitamins.
- Failure to establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship involving three horses. One example listed was performing an endoscopic examination without documenting an examination of the horse or communicating treatment with the trainer or owner.
- Violation of the Practice Act and Council Regulations regarding record keeping in the case of six horses. He cited a failure to record information such as a horse’s age, sex, breed and color as well as medications, diagnosis and prognosis.
- Use of mislabelled drugs, in one case involving L-thyroxine powder, which is not FDA approved.
- Possession or use of prohibited drugs in 10 cases. Five of the cases involve aspirin powder, which is not approved by the FDA for veterinary patients.
- Failure to provide the required medical consultation in eight cases. He cited cases where the medical file did not mention the consultation required for the use of the drug.
- Poor record keeping in anesthesia case. The prosecution said the file did not document a required examination 12 hours before the administration of general anesthesia.
Stay tuned. More is sure to come.