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.
|Substance||Why used||Risk for greyhound|
|Erythropoiesis stimulating agents https://www.marvistavet.com/erythropoietin.pml||Performance enhancing, reduces muscle fatigue||Linked to cardiac arrest, cerebral hemorrhage|
|Steroids, eg hydrocortisone, prednisone, anabolic steroids https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/steroid-treatment-long-term-effects-in-dogs||Improve athletic ability – improve strength and muscle bulk, for female greyhounds to prevent losing race days due to estrus||Chronic 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.pdf||Anesthetic 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-pets||Performance enhancing stimulant||Elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature, rarely but possible – organ damage|
|Dimethyl Sulfoxide DMSO http://www.greyhoundrescue.co.uk/Illegal%20Drug%20Use.htm||Masking agent, pain reliever , sedative||Further damage to injuries, pain and suffering|
|Cocaine https://www.inverse.com/article/36508-cocaine-greyhound-science||Energy burst, “hyperactive”||Cardiovascular damage, brain damage|
|Viagra https://todaysveterinarynurse.com/articles/sildenafil-exposure-in-a-dog/||Performance enhancer, increases heart rate||Hypotension, 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 outcomes||Toxic 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 penalties, VIC penalties, SA penalties, QLD penalties, WA penalties, TAS penalties, NT penalties – none published by NT government or NT racing industry.
Evidence – NSW
- Tasmanian RSPCA statement – greyhound infringements 2020
- Examiner – Greyhound adoption program manager stood down over doping charge, 2020
- SMH – Greyhounds test positive for drugs 10 times more than horses at races
- SMH – Million dollar chase greyhound tests positive to EPO
- Guardian Australia – Greyhound doping – 51 NSW trainers charged
- ABC-TV 7.30 Report on doping – Mug’s Game – 2013.