Horse Racing

Report: Blea’s Veterinary License Temporarily Suspended

Jeff Blea, first-year equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board, was temporarily suspended from his veterinary license by the California Veterinary Medical Council on January 3, according to a statement. LA time. This action could jeopardize Blea’s position with the CHRB, although the position of equine medical director does not require a valid veterinary license.

In the temporary suspension, Administrative Law Judge Nana Chin wrote that VMB was concerned that Blea “could affect CHRB’s ongoing claims regarding recent sudden deaths of seahorses,” the Los Angeles Times said. news. Although the order suggested many horses, certainly the main focus was the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) that finished first Medina Spirit , an intern of Bob Baffert collapsed and died after a practice session at Santa Anita . Park last month. Tests and autopsies are underway for his death, standard procedure for dead horses at CHRB-supervised facilities.

VMB’s action comes after a complaint filed against Blea and veterinarians Vince Baker and Sarah Graybill Jones, also in December. The other veterinarians did not have a hearing on the license. emergency and kept their license pending a formal hearing, the Los Angeles Times wrote.

In last month’s complaint, eight charges were listed against Blea, prior to his time at CHRB when he practiced privately as a racetrack veterinarian. The Veterinary Council said in the filing that it received an anonymous complaint that Blea and other veterinarians prescribed and used medications, including thyroxine, a thyroid medication, for horses without examination or medical necessity.

Thyroxine was once popular with some horsemen and veterinarians but is suspected of being over-prescribed. Beginning in 2014, the CHRB issued guidance to veterinarians and horsemen regarding the prescribing, dispensing, and labeling of thyroid hormone in an effort to limit indiscriminate use. It

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Blea, who declined to comment for a Los Angeles Times story, began her role as equine medical director July 1 after the retirement of Dr. Rick Arthur, who had held the position for 15 years. five.

Baker and Graybill Jones did not have an emergency permit hearing and have kept their licenses pending a formal hearing, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In a petition to suspend Blea’s license, Rob Bonta, the attorney general of California, and Elaine Yan, the deputy attorney general, requested the suspension because “the appearance of improper conduct has eroded confidence public trust.”

Scott Chaney, chief executive officer of CHRB, told the Los Angeles Times: “We are aware of this order and the CHRB is in the process of determining appropriate action. “As I said last week, I have known Dr Blea for some time, and continue to support him during this difficult time.”

If Blea maintains its equine medical director with the CHRB, action by the VMD will likely be discussed at the next CHRB meeting on January 20, both during the public comment period and by the stakeholders. members in closed session, for internal matters.

The Times reports VMB has scheduled a formal hearing for January 21 involving Blea with a trial of the charges to be held for six months to a year.


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