Monday, 29 April 2013

Anabolic steroids in horses: Sungate, stanozolol and Ben Johnson


Those of you following the latest story [1] about the doping scandal engulfing horse racing in Britain might be amused to know that “Sungate” is none other than Stanozolol – the drug that Ben Johnson used to “win” his 100m Olympic gold in Seoul in 1988. Manufacturers even supply nice glossy leaflets explaining that it is an anabolic androgenic steroid derived from testosterone and boasting that it is much the best at being anabolic (muscle building) rather than androgenic (sex altering) [2]. So even if it was given on the advice of the vet. everyone must have been aware that the horses were being treated with anabolic steroids. Such “therapy” is wide open to abuse and it is therefore completely unacceptable and banned at any time in nearly all sports. In racing the rules vary from country to country. However, what the story seems to reveal is that, at best, there is a cavalier attitude to sports doping in horse racing that is a million miles away from elite Olympic sports. At worst, the industry is wide open to unscrupulous trainers who might wish to exploit this slack attitude [3]. This is not a new story by the way. There is a nice article in 2009 on the use of the same steroid in US thoroughbred racing, focussing at least in part on horse welfare issues [4].

I don’t think we have heard the end of this story in Britain yet, not by a long way.




10 comments:

  1. Well, Nowadays horses are treated with Anabolic Steroids it's totally abuse to Animal. This thing should be reported to nearest Cop Station. It may cause a great harm to Horse.
    --Carlos Kauffman

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  2. In the case of the anabolic steroid in question - stanozolol - it is registered for use as a treatment to improve appetite and increase strength in ailing animals. Occasionally it is used by vets to treat anemia associated with chronic disease.

    Anabolic steroids are also used in humans by doctors for similar reasons (though they are not a first line treatment). If used in this way, I don't consider the treatment abuse in either a human or a horse. However, I tend to agree that, as the horse cannot give informed consent, using it in healthy animals to make them run faster is much more problematic ethically. This is also the thrust of the argument used in the US article I cited:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/recycled/2009/05/win_place_and_dope.single.html

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  3. Only the anabolic steroids with less harm should be use.

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  4. what is the recommended threshold for this steroid,because in my opinion USA horse trainers use this knowledge to race even thou it became controversial after "big brown" won the KENTUCKY DERBY,AND HIS TRAINER RICHARD DUTROW became entangle for use of post race positives of all sorts.I can bet my house that on next Saturday june7 2013 many if not all of the horses competing in the "BELMONT STAKES WILL HAD BEEN TREATED WIHT SOME SORT OF ANABOLIC STEROIDS FOR THAT RACE WHIT THE TRESHOL FOR THOSE DRUGS IN MIND ACORDING WIHT THE RULES SET BY NYSRWB

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  5. I thought this was being used as an anti arthritic medication injected into joints.It

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  6. Is it just me, or is your Sources list published as White text on White Background?

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    1. I find this the case on my iPad but not any other device. It seems to be something to do with blogspot. Apologies. If I can find a way to fix it I will.

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  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. My newborn at 28 weeks is alive today because two courses of steroids were given to his mum a week beforehand... his lungs wouldn't have been ready otherwise... not to administer drugs can be culpable in some situations... life is complex... thankfully.

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  8. I am very glad to hear about this. These would have been corticosteroids, not the anabolic ones used to increase muscle mass. They have the "steroid" name as their chemical structure is similar. But they have very different effects in the body.

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