Doping and drugging

Doping and drugging

Doping in greyhound racing is even more common than in horse-racing. In fact, the Sydney Morning Herald reported in 2018 that greyhounds test positive for drugs 10 times more than horses at races. This pattern is consistent with greyhound doping elsewhere.

This table lists the most common drugs used on greyhounds, why they are used and the health risks for dogs.

SubstanceWhy used  Risk for greyhound
Erythropoiesis stimulating agents https://www.marvistavet.com/erythropoietin.pmlPerformance enhancing, reduces muscle fatigueLinked to cardiac arrest, cerebral hemorrhage
Steroids, eg hydrocortisone, prednisone, anabolic steroids https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/steroid-treatment-long-term-effects-in-dogsImprove athletic ability – improve strength and muscle bulk, for female greyhounds to prevent losing race days due to estrusChronic UTI, muscle weakness, prone to skin conditions and infections, linked to Cushing’s disease
Barbiturates eg thiobarbiturates https://greyhoundsaspets.org.nz/sites/default/files/2015/04/ANAESTHESIA-IN-THE-GREYHOUND.pdfAnesthetic agent (for gambling purposes)Barbiturates should not be used on greyhounds due to drug sensitivity – stress induced hypothermia
ADHD medications eg Ritalin https://www.aspca.org/news/dangers-adhd-medication-and-your-petsPerformance enhancing stimulantElevated blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature, rarely but possible – organ damage
Dimethyl Sulfoxide DMSO http://www.greyhoundrescue.co.uk/Illegal%20Drug%20Use.htmMasking agent, pain reliever , sedativeFurther damage to injuries, pain and suffering
Cocaine https://www.inverse.com/article/36508-cocaine-greyhound-scienceEnergy burst, “hyperactive”Cardiovascular damage, brain damage
Viagra https://todaysveterinarynurse.com/articles/sildenafil-exposure-in-a-dog/Performance enhancer, increases heart rateHypotension, risk of overdose, tachycardia
Cannabis https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-safety-tips/marijuana-toxicity-pets/Similar to barbiturates, to slow dogs when racing in order to manipulate race outcomesToxic for dogs. Causes problems with regulating body temperature, tremors, seizures, and other signs of toxicity. In rare cases, coma.

While the greyhound industry runs drug testing programs, financial penalties range from nothing to $2,500 for a repeat offender.

Examples of rulings made can be found at these links: NSW penaltiesVIC penaltiesSA penaltiesQLD penaltiesWA penaltiesTAS penalties, NT penalties – none published by NT government or NT racing industry.

Evidence – NSW