Drug Residue Testing in the Animal Racing Market
Randox are working with the worldwide racing industry to ensure the fairness and integrity of racing to certify the welfare of the animals and jockeys. Randox produce highly sensitive screening solutions to aid laboratory analysis for the detection of a vast range of regulated or prohibited substances ensuring public interests are protected.
Randox have embarked on a programme of research and development of products for the detection of prohibited substances in the racing industry. Randox produce a vast range of screening solutions to aid the global racing industry to ensure races are won on the animals own natural merits.
There are over 250 horse racecourses and 100 racing authorities worldwide (1). According to The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA), racing takes place in 48 countries.
The ARCI (Association of Racing Commissioners International) are the international regulatory body for prohibited substances in racing. They have established a uniform classification for foreign substances. These drugs are classified into 5 categories: (2)
Class 1 drugs
Stimulants and depressant drugs that have the greatest potential to affect performance and have no generally accepted medical use in racing. Drugs include; opiates, synthetic opioids, amphetamines.
Class 2 drugs
Drugs that have a high potential to affect performance, but less so than class 1 drugs. These drugs are not generally accepted as therapeutic agents in racing and have a high potential for abuse. Examples include; ketamine and ractopamine.
Class 3 drugs
Drugs that may or may not have general medical use in racing, but the pharmacology of the drugs may still have the potential to affect performance, although to a lesser extent than class 2 drugs. Examples include; Clenbuterol and nandralone.
Class 4 drugs
This class includes therapeutic medications that would be expected to have less potential to affect performance than those in class 3. Examples include; boldenone, cortisone, dexamethasone, nortestosterone, oxphenbutazone and stanozolol.
Class 5 drugs
This class includes those therapeutic medications for which concentration limits have been established by the racing jurisdictions as well as certain miscellaneous agents such as DMSO and other medications as determined by the regulatory bodies.
Testing for prohibited substances can be performed pre-race, post-race and during training, ensuring such prohibited practices are detected, and protecting the public's interests at the same time. Many drugs are used for therapeutic purposes, for example to help alleviate pain, but many of these substances are used to completely mask injuries - putting the horse and jockey in danger whilst also making the race unfair to the supporting public. The specification depends on the racing authority of the particular country. Research indicates that the most commonly tested drugs in the racing industry include flunixin and phenylbutazone. Randox provide high quality test kits for these substances.
ELISA and Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) are the dominant residue testing methods used for post-race testing. ELISA tests are drug specific and can detect drugs at low concentrations. Whilst TLC tests for multiple drugs, it cannot detect low concentrations. Many regulatory and advisory bodies encourage the move away from TLC methods and concentrating on ELISA and newer instrumental methodologies that save costs and increase accuracy. For example, Biochip Array Technology (Multiplex Screening) from Randox Laboratories simultaneously detects multiple drugs of abuse from a single sample, providing a complete profile of results accurately and cost-effectively. This technology also overcomes the problems associated with TLC as it detects analytes even at low concentrations.
The only way drug abuse within the racing industry can be controlled is by employing effective screening solutions and educating all involved in the sport about the dangers and penalties involved. The main drugs of abuse, commonly used within the industry, such as flunixin and phenylbutazone should be included along with additional markers. Screening for multiple drugs at once will provide a complete profile and may highlight drugs which were not originally suspected, therefore making the testing process quicker and less costly.
Markers of interest within screening in the racing industry include:
Ketamine was first synthesized in 1962 and subsequently marketed as an anaesthetic drug for human and animal use.It is a dissociative medical anaesthetic agent possessing hallucinogenic properties. Ketamine became a drug of abuse shortly after it was introduced to clinical use. It has a very short half-life and rapid clearance from the body.
Phenylbutazone is a pyrazolone derivative that was one of the first non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) approved for use in horses and dogs. The use of phenylbutazone in food producing animals is prohibited in most countries, including the European Union, United States, Canada and Japan.
Synthetic Steroids and Growth Promoters
Growth Promoting hormones and Synthetic Steroids have long been used by the livestock industry to improve an animal's ability to more efficiently utilise nutrients and produce leaner, more affordable meat. Hormone residues in meat have been linked to various medical conditions. However, these drugs are also used within the racing industry to improve the animal's performance.
Randox are able to provide the above mentioned drug residue analysis through our wide range of ELISA kits and Multiplex Screening Arrays. For more information on these products please visit our product sections.
- Growth Promoter Multiple Matrix Screen Array Cat. No: EV3726
- Growth Promoter Rapid Urine Screen Array Cat. No: EV3521
- Synthetic Steroids Array Cat. No: EV3694
- Trenbolone ELISA Cat. No :TB2106
- 19 Nortestosterone/Trenbolone ELISA Cat. No : NT2105
- Boldenone ELISA Cat. No :BD2382
- Stanozolol ELISA Cat. No :SW2418
- b-agonist ELISA Cat. No :SU2148
- Ractopamine ELISA Cat. No :RT3451
- Ketamine ELISA Cat. No :KT3459
- Corticosteroids ELISA Cat. No :DM2156
- Phenylbutazone ELISA Cat. No :PB3456
- Flunixin ELISA Cat. No :FL3458
- Stilbenes ELISA Cat. No :SJ2152
- Zeranol ELISA Cat. No :ZR3421
- Association of Racing Commissioners International, Inc. 'Uniform Classification Guidelines for Foreign Substances'