Farm animal Health and Nutrition

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Evaluation of Different Patterns of Drug Consumption in the Ranking of Race Horses in National Racing of Iran: A Retrospective Study 2002-2015

Meysam Tehrani-Sharif , and Amir Zakian

Department of Clinical Science, Garmsar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Garmsar, Iran

Department of Clinical Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Lorestan University, Lorestan, Iran  Corresponding author: Meysam Tehrani-Sharif, Department of Clinical Science, Garmsar Branch, Islamic Azad University, Garmsar, Iran. Email:


Introduction: Doping is fraudulent and must be prevented in the interests of horse racing as a national recreation. No sport can survive without the confidence of its supporters, so all deceitful practices must be eliminated. This study aimed to determine the rate of drug consumption in horse races in Iran during 2002, 2003, and 2005-2015 and evaluate Iran’s current dope control management. Materials and methods: The winner’s method was used to choose horses for drug testing, and only the first and second-place finishers in each race, and seldom the third, were picked. Data of horses during 13 years (2002, 2003, and 2005-2015) were collected. The dope test documents of 2004 were incomplete, so the related data were not analyzed. Results: The mean dope rate (2002, 2003, and 2005-2015) was 15.83%. The dope rates of 2002, 2003, and 2005-2015 were 29.4%, 33.8%, 21.7%, 10.54 %, 11.14%, 11.47%, 8.62%,4.71%, 18.6%, 20.6%, 16.9%, 22.6%, and 6.72 % respectively. From 2003 to 2010, the drug rate progressively decreased from 33.8% to 4.71%. Morphine, Phenylbutazone, Oxyphenbutazone, and caffeine were the most often utilized medicines. Twenty-one drug family types based on the mode of action were used through the years, of which 23.07 percent were combinations. From 2002 to 2010, the variety of medications utilized progressively declined. The noticeable aspect was high prevalence of dope in Iran, compared to developed countries. Conclusion: The results showed that the dope rate reduced from 2002 to 2015 in Iran racehorses. Routine tests are suggested for controlling doping, and strict rules must be established to prevent doping.


“Dope” in English means a stupid person. However, in 1889, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, it took a new verb form, “doping,” which meant “to administer dope to (a person or a horse); to stupefy with a drug1” . In sports, doping refers to using illegal drugs by organizations that regulate competitions to enhance athletes’ performance2. The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI, or in English, International Equestrian Federation) is an organization that controls the world of equestrian sports3. The FEI regulates show jumping, dressage, carriage driving, endurance riding, reining, vaulting, and para equestrianism, but not horse racing. However, the FEI controls racing through a variety of channels. Administering international competition in traditional equestrian disciplines is the fundamental goal of the FEI to provide advanced equestrian sports worldwide. The FEI’s Code of Conduct protects the welfare of horses and has strict rules about doping and medication control4. The first official doping test was developed in 1912, the first anti-doping regulations were provided in 1928, and the first doping tests took place at the 1966 European Championships for athletes5. Two years later, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) performed the first drug tests at the summer and Winter Olympics6. Blood (plasma) is a better matrix for medication control, but most of controls are managed using urine.

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