After an intense race, a horse's muscles have been working hard and are depleted of oxygen and energy. This can lead to muscle fatigue, soreness, and decreased performance in subsequent races.
Administering the drug acepromazine after a race may help improve muscle recovery by increasing blood flow to the muscles.
Acepromazine is a tranquilizer that produces a calming effect by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain. It acts as a vasodilator, meaning it causes blood vessels to dilate or widen. This dilation allows more oxygenated blood to flow through the blood vessels and deliver nutrients to the muscle tissues.
Increased blood flow can help remove lactic acid and other metabolic waste products that build up in muscles during anaerobic exertion like racing. Flushing these waste products out helps minimize muscle stiffness and soreness. The improved circulation also brings fresh oxygen and glucose to fuel muscle recovery.
Additionally, the relaxation effects of acepromazine on the central nervous system may assist with post-race recovery. After high stress activities like racing, hormones like cortisol and epinephrine are elevated. The presence of acepromazine helps lower these fight-or-flight hormones, allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to initiate healing and regeneration.
While further research is needed, some horse trainers and veterinarians recommend administering a low dose of acepromazine immediately after an intense race to promote muscle recovery through increased blood flow. Proper hydration, rest, and nutritional support are also key. More studies are needed to establish definitive protocols, but the vasodilation effects of acepromazine may lend potential benefits for racehorses.