Intra-Articular Injection of Corticosteroids

Updated: 1 August 2022
Issued: July 2014

Racing Victoria (RV) reminds trainers and permitted veterinarians of their obligations under the provisions of AR 87 which prohibits the administration of an intraarticular corticosteroid preparation to a thoroughbred racehorse within eight clear days of a race, official trial or jump-out.

A Clear Day is defined within the Rule to mean a twenty-four hour period from 12:00am to 11.59pm (AR 2). For practical purposes, a clear day restriction means that the calculation of the number of days for which the procedure/treatment is banned, does not take into account the day of treatment nor the day of racing.

As such a stand down time of 8 clear days equates to 10 regular days when including the day of administration and the day of racing.

For example, if a horse was subjected to an intra-articular administration of a corticosteroid at any time on a Monday (1st day of the month), that horse would be ineligible to race until the Wednesday of the following week (10th day of the month).

Similarly, a horse treated with an intra-articular corticosteroid on a Thursday is ineligible to race until the second Saturday after treatment. Examples of how to calculate clear days after treatment are provided on the Racing Victoria website.1

Further, participants are again reminded that this stand down period for intra-articular corticosteroids must not be confused with the recommended ‘safe withdrawal’ time for the particular medication used and or for the joint injected.

The withdrawal period for a prohibited substance is calculated to ensure that a horse is presented clear of the prohibited substance when it is sampled. In the case of intraarticular injections, the withdrawal period will depend on the corticosteroid preparation used, the dose administered, the number of joints injected as well as the joints(s) injected.

The minimum stand down time is intended as a minimum period before racing within which any corticosteroid preparation must not be administered intra articularly, including the shorter-acting corticosteroids.

Corticosteroid preparations that are subject to this rule include, but are not limited to: triamcinolone (Kenacort, Triamolone Forte), betamethasone (Celestone Chronodose), dexamethasone and methylprednisolone (Depo-Medrol) preparations. They are all Schedule 4 Prescription Medicines or Prescription Animal Remedies, and in the case of an intra-articular administration, must be administered by a veterinarian.

Recent cases in Victoria involving the detection of triamcinolone acetonide in race day samples following the intraarticular injection of the drug (in the preparation Kenacort) into joints outside the eight clear days, in accordance with AR 87, highlights this important issue.

1 See:

In certain circumstances, the recommended ‘safe withdrawal’ period may be much longer than the minimum stand down time prescribed by AR 87.

To avoid confusion, Racing Victoria (RV) recommends permitted veterinarians always provide withdrawal times using the “clear day” terminology where a clear day does not include the day of administration or the day of racing.

It is essential that trainers consult carefully with their permitted veterinarian when deciding upon the appropriate ‘safe withdrawal time’ in each particular case to ensure that horses are presented free of prohibited substances.

Trainers are also reminded to record all details of any intra-articular medication, including the medication administered, dose, and site/s of injection (AR 104).