Kind, Mays Promoted in TVMDL Drug Testing Laboratory

The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL) has elevated Al Kind and Travis Mays, MS, in the College Station drug testing laboratory. Kind will now serve as lead racing chemist. With TVMDL since 2005, Mays now serves as the assistant section head for the drug testing laboratory.

In 1989, the Texas Racing Act gave TVMDL primary responsibility for providing drug-testing services to the pari-mutuel horse and greyhound racing industries. The racing industries and the livestock show industry rely on TVMDL to screen for illegal and regulated therapeutic drugs in performance animals. Additionally, the drug testing laboratory works with veterinarians by offering diagnostics testing for companion animals and livestock to ensure animal and public health.

Mays began working with TVMDL as a student worker in 2001. He holds a bachelor of science in animal science and a master of science in toxicology, both from Texas A&M University in College Station. Prior to working in the drug laboratory, Mays held positions in the toxicology section from 2005 until 2014. Before that, he was the breeding assistant at Carol Rose Quarter Horses in Gainesville, Texas.

"I spent several years working in the Quarter Horse breeding industry and became aware of the questionable practices some people try to use to get ahead in the equine industry," Mays said. "It is rewarding to be able to work within the TVMDL drug testing laboratory and work to ensure an equitable playing field. In addition, I'm interested in pharmacology and learning more about drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and this is where I can gather that information."

Kind has more than 30 years' experience in veterinary drug forensics. He received a bachelor of arts in chemistry with a computer science minor from Lafayette College in Easton, Penn., and has vast experience in chromatography and mass spectrometry testing as applied to the field of racing chemistry. A fellow in the Association of Official Racing Chemists, Kind has previously served as the program director in the Iowa State University Racing Chemistry Lab, and the technical manager of the Microchemistry Laboratory at the University of Connecticut. Most recently, Kind served as a consultant for TVMDL in the drug testing laboratory.

"The TVMDL drug testing laboratory provides essential research and testing for equine and greyhound racing athletes. Recently, TVMDL has invested heavily to enhance the laboratory's analytical capability," Kind said. "Our state-of-the-art capabilities enforce the rules of racing that ensure a healthy and fair racing industry here in Texas. Working with TVMDL, I have also come to appreciate that this same level of testing is applied to livestock shows that come through the laboratory."

Since the drug testing laboratory's inception, diagnosticians have developed many assays to detect substances that are used in livestock shows and pari-mutuel racing events. Annually, the drug testing laboratory at TVMDL performs more than 3,500 tests for livestock shows and 7,400 tests for canine and equine racing animals.

"These staffing changes in the drug testing lab, as well as the investment in upgraded equipment and technologies, are all reflections of the TVMDL commitment to providing the highest quality services to the citizens and animal industries in Texas," said Bruce L. Akey, DVM, MS, TVMDL executive deputy director.

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