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Horse Fails Drug Test After Worker Pees in Stall
 By Saferaphus   •   19th Aug 2017   •   363 views   •   0 comments


Asking your staff not to pee in the horse stalls seems a little weird, but apparently this is a real problem. A race horse named Wotadoll was given a drug test after a race. The results showed traces of a painkilling drug called Tramadol. After an investigation as to how the drug got into the horse, it was discovered that a stable hand had urinated on the horse’s stall bedding. The worker had been taking a prescription drug and during the course of the workday, instead of taking a break to head to the restrooms, the worker urinated in the horse’s stall. It’s not clear whether the horse ate some bedding, or absorbed the drug some other way. But, the trainer, who otherwise had an impeccable record, was fined.

This isn’t the first time this has happened either. Other incidents have led to horses testing positive for drugs like the over-the-counter antihistamine cetirizine, which was thought to have been passed to the horse through the sweat of its handler. And so, owners, trainers, and other track workers are recognizing the importance of not contaminating stalls, wearing gloves and being aware of how they might cause a positive drug test while handling horses if they’re taking any sort of medication.

If you’re in any horse sport that requires drug testing, it’s important to know how you might inadvertently cause a positive test. Feeds, treats, herbs, drugs we give to our horses or ourselves, no matter how innocuous they may seem, and even pasture plants can result in a positive drug test a competition.

A chocolate bar might seem like a tasty high energy treat while you’re out with your horse. But, don’t feed your horse any of the chocolate. Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, an alkaloid substance similar to methylxanthine, more commonly called caffeine, found in coffee, some sport and energy drinks, and theophylline found in tea. All of these substances are stimulants and therefore banned in competition. While this is no longer an FEI banned substance, individual regulations may still regard it as one.

Do you like poppy seed bagels? Your horse might happily eat one too. But, poppy seeds contain a chemical that is a banned substance. In fact, horses or humans can drug test positive for a banned substance if poppy seeds are ingested. Bagels aren’t the only place poppy seeds can show up. They also can be found amongst oat grains and if poppies are growing within reach of your horses.

You would think baking soda is a pretty innocuous substance. And, it’s handy as a mild scrub for buckets, a deodorizer and made into a paste takes the sting out of insect bites. It is also given to horses in an attempt to treat or avoid stomach ulcers. But, ‘milkshaking’ with bicarbonate of soda to lower the horse’s blood ph to lesson lactic acid buildup pre-competition is illegal. Bicarbonate of soda is also added to other types of livestock feed. And a substance called citrate which is in various foods can cause a positive drug test that looks like milkshaking has been done.

Horse feed that is made in mills where other livestock feeds are mixed can be a problem as well. Ractopamine is used to promote growth in hogs. This can affect a drug test. And, of course, there are substances in cattle feeds that are deadly to horses. Recent research suggests that failing a drug test from minutely tainted feed would be unlikely but, it’s still wise to buy your concentrates and grains from a mill the specializes solely in horse feeds to avoid this type of cross contamination.

Lots of liniments, herbal preparations and supplements can contain banned substances. And, just because something is natural, doesn’t mean a horse will have a clean drug test. The list of banned substances is long. Most of the drugs would have to be intentionally administered to a horse. But if you’re competing, it’s smart to know how you can avoid the substances that can result in an accidental positive.
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