Greyhound drug testing

From Dog

Illegal doping of greyhounds requires constant regulatory vigilance to prevent race fixing.

The term 'doping' is associated with the illicit medication of greyhounds, where it is an offense to race an animal that has administered to it any substance capable of affecting its speed, stamina, courage or conduct[1].

The rules only apply to substances present in the animal on race day and a significant percentage of drug-positive dogs are found to have been treated with veterinary prescribed therapeutic medications such as analgesics with insufficient withdrawal periods prior to racing.

Most post-race urine or blood testing uses gas chromatography to detect abnormal levels of corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, stimulants and depressants.

Collection of urine samples from dogs provides a relatively large sample volume (20 - 300 mL) containing drugs in a concentrated form due to excretion.

Drug testing routinely screens post-race urine samples for:

An exception is made for bitches through the oral administration of ethyloestrenol (Nandoral, Nitrotain) on the basis that it has been prescribed by a registered veterinarian as a preventative measure to stop bitches coming into season and being unable to race.

The trainer of the greyhound is at all times responsible for any positive test regardless of how the banned substance has entered the greyhound's system. Greyhounds from which samples cannot be obtained for a certain number of consecutive races are subject to being ruled off the track. Violators are subject to criminal penalties and loss of their racing licenses by state gaming commissions and a permanent ban from the National Greyhound Association[15].

Although doping is obviously carried out to defraud bookmakers and other punters, the main concern is the potential harm caused to the dog.


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  2. Moore CM & Oliver JS (1988) Rapid extraction of oxazepam from greyhound urine for high performance liquid chromatography analysis. Forensic Sci Int 38(3-4):237-241
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  4. Dumasia MC et al (2002) Biotransformation of cyclizine in greyhounds. 1: Identification and analysis of cyclizine and some basic metabolites in canine urine by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Xenobiotica 32(9):795-807
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  9. Clifford RJ (1987) Caffeine--the potential for its abuse in the racing greyhound. Vet Rec 120(25):592-595
  10. Northern Indy media
  11. Moore H et al (1987) Determination of bromide ion concentration in greyhound urine by ion chromatography. Am J Vet Res 48(2):297-300
  12. Moore CM (1990) Solid-phase cation exchange extraction of basic drugs from the urine of racing greyhounds. J Forensic Sci Soc '30(3):123-9
  13. Bartlett C et al (2006) Detection of the administration of human erythropoietin (HuEPO) to canines. J Anal Toxicol 30(9):663-669
  14. Tay, S et al (1996) Evaluation of ELISA tests for erythropoietin (EPO) detection. In Proceedings of the l l th International Conference of Racing Analysts and Veterinarians, D.E. Auer and E. Houghton, Eds. R&W Publications, Newmarket, England. pp:410-414