QRIC warns racing industry against the use of Formalin

1 October 2020

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) is warning racing industry participants against the use of the chemical Formalin.

Formalin is a 37 per cent aqueous (water) solution of formaldehyde, a pungent gas, with the chemical formula HCHO, used as an antiseptic, disinfectant, and especially today as a fixative for histology (the study of tissues under the microscope).

The Commission has intelligence that enquiries have been made about the use of the chemical to stop bleeding from the lung in racehorses or exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH).

QRIC Director of Veterinary Services and Animal Welfare Dr Martin Lenz said while the use of the chemical may for a time cause blood to clot, it also causes many other effects in tissues it comes into contact with, the majority of which are harmful. It is also a potent carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).

“Formalin is basically embalming fluid and there is no legitimate use for it in living tissue”. Its routine use on living animals, including horses would be considered an animal welfare issue,” he said.

“EIPH or bleeding from the lung, is extremely common in racehorses and there are other more effective and welfare-friendly ways to manage the issue, including maintaining good stable air quality, modifying the horse’s training regime and the judicious use of frusemide within the applicable Rules of Racing.

“Trainers are encouraged to consult with their veterinarians to diagnose and manage this condition.”


Media Contact Vincene Overs 0472 842 346