California equine medical director faces allegations

Jeff Blea, first-year equine medical director of the California Horse Racing Board, will face a number of allegations related to medication misadministration while working as a track vet, which could put his vet license on hold. danger.

First reported by the Los Angeles Times, the California Veterinary Medical Board filed a 27-page complaint on Dec. 17 listing eight allegations against Blea. The veterinary board has requested a hearing into the allegations that could result in the revocation or suspension of Blea’s license and fines of up to $ 5,000.

BloodHorse confirmed the allegations by reviewing the complaint. Veterinarians Vince Baker and Sarah Graybill Jones have also received complaints.

Blea, who declined to comment in the Los Angeles Times story, began his role as Equine Medical Director on July 1 after the retirement of Rick Arthur, who had held the position for 15 years. Blea expected to play a key role in CHRB investigation following the death of Kentucky Derby winner presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) Medina spirit after a training session on December 6 at Santa Anita Park.

The veterinary board said in the file it had received an anonymous complaint that Blea and other vets prescribed and administered drugs, including thyroxine, to equine patients without examination or medical necessity. In the complaint, the veterinary board says it investigated and obtained information that Blea prescribed, dispensed and administered thyroxine and other drugs to racehorses without medical examination or necessity.

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As of January 1, California will begin strictly regulating thyroxine, a thyroid drug. Years earlier, in 2014, the CHRB had instructed vets and riders on the prescribing, dispensing and labeling of thyroid hormones in an attempt to curb the indiscriminate use of thyroid drugs.

The Times article notes that the CHRB’s equine medical director does not need to be an active veterinarian. CHRB Executive Director Scott Chaney expressed confidence in Blea and told The Times that Blea would continue to fulfill his role during the due process of the Veterinary Board complaint.

“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,” Chaney told The Times. “From my perspective, he always exhibited 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 processing phase of this case. “

Blea was a practicing veterinarian on the Southern California racing circuit for 28 years before accepting the position of Equine Medical Director. The veterinary council’s allegations relate to actions from September 3, 2020 through January. 26, 2021 (before he begins his role as Equine Medical Director).

The complaint, which did not include a hearing date, also says the veterinary board requested and received medical records revealing other violations of the law on the practice of veterinary medicine. The Times reported that an emergency hearing was scheduled for December 24 to determine whether Blea’s license should be temporarily suspended.

The various allegations include neglect of veterinary practice, dispensing unsafe drugs without medical necessity, failure to establish a veterinarian-client-patient relationship, record-keeping violations, violations of mislabelled drug rules. , possession or use of prohibited drugs, failure to provide the required drug consultation and violations related to the administration of anesthesia.

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