Drug Testing Integrity

Forty veterinarians, chemists, and horse industry professionals met Oct. 6-8 for the eighth Testing Integrity Program (TIP) workshop at the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center in Lexington, Ky. TIP was formed in 1995 as a non-profit organization at a meeting at Keeneland race track in Kentucky. Members of the group meet periodically to facilitate dialogue between veterinarians, chemists, and the racing industry. This in turn facilitates and encourages advancement of drug testing, research, and quality control.

Jack Henion, PhD, MS, Professor of Toxicology at Cornell's New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, presented information about bringing high numbers of samples through an instrumental screening laboratory in a short period of time. Henion's laboratory has tested more samples in a day than some racing states analyze in a year. Henion reviewed the application of his testing methodology to the racehorse industry, and discussed new technologies that will make this "high-throughput" testing faster and more reliable.

Automated ELISA testing systems also were discussed during the conference. ELISA stands for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay tests, which are any of the many highly sensitive, color-based test methods to detect antibodies or antigens in blood, serum, or plasma samples. ELISA testing systems that automatically screen from sample access to final printout also support the goal of increasing sample throughput, accuracy, and reliability.

New tests for drugs were discussed, along with experimental work on related phosphodiesterase inhibitors, which could have potential efficacy in the treatment of bleeders.

Studies on furosemide and its effect on exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH, or bleeding) in racehorses were presented, as were new tests screening for specific tranquilizers.

"We were delighted to host the meeting," said Thomas Tobin, MVB, MSc, PhD, MRCVS, DABT of the Gluck Center. "We had a broad base of support from the industry, and the meeting was very successful in its discussion of improving the accuracy, sensitivity, and above all, the throughput of the drug testing."

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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