This study looks into doping and drugs in horse racing, which involves the administration of performance-inducing drugs, which harms the quality of competition in the sport and exposes the animal to long-term health problems such as kidney failure. An investigation on doping requires identifying the various therapeutic drugs used in doping horses and the analysis of their long-term impact on the animal’s well-being (Fragkaki et al., 2017).
The researcher was required to look into the effects of horse doping in the sport and the role of the involvement of high-dollar purses in motivating the sportsmen to dope. The nature of the research objectives led to the need for the researcher to apply mixed methods.
The researchers found that one of the most contentious therapeutic drugs used in horse doping is furosemide, also known as Lasix. The drug is used to prevent fluid retention and exposes the horse to lung disease, kidney problems, and heart failure. The drug is administered to the horse when the race takes place and prevents lung bleeding (Karasawa et al., 2017). This frequent use can be attributed to the fact that the drug is a diuretic; in that, he helps the horse run faster by facilitating is weight loss.
The administration of Lasix can be regarded as abuse to the horse in that it enables the exploitation of the horse to guarantee victory in a race. In addition to Lasix, the horses are also administered with betamethasone, an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid, and phenylbutazone, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. In general, the researchers found that Acepromazine, furosemide, and NSAIDs are used in the regulation of pain and inflammation, thus exploiting the animal to go beyond its full capacity, which has long-term effects on its health.
An important finding for this study was that the therapeutic drugs used in horse doping do not necessarily enhance the animal’s performance but instead enable performance. Therefore, they do not increase the horse’s natural abilities but increase performance while exposing it to injuries. The human beings involved take advantage of the fact that the horse does not cognitively realize that it is accumulating injuries by pushing itself to run faster.
It was found that 90 percent of the horses that perform under the influence of performance enable drugs, sustain fatal fractures, and are more exposed to bone disease (Smith, 2018). In addition to enabling performance, the anti-inflammatory steroids suppress any symptoms of underlying injuries, thus sacrificing the horses’ long-term well-being for short-term pain relief.
The study also found that it is complicated to distinguish between the drugs used to mask pain and inflammation, the drugs used to sedate the animal and enable performance. A clear distinction between these drugs would facilitate the determination of which drugs should be used as a medication for the horses and should be banned from the sport of kings.
The sport of kings has provided an environment whereby the stamina and speed of the horses are prioritized over their well-being, which has been the case since 1903. A realization made during the study is that even though both the jockey and the horse are involved in the sport, the jockey bears very little of the impact of high performance. Therefore, they are more likely to have to pressure the animal to expose itself to injury for the sake of victory, which merely matters to the jockey (Karasawa et al., 2021).
Furthermore, the researcher realized that the sport of kings provided the conditions necessary for horse doping by merely incentivizing victory. The issue of doping has continued to exacerbate because there is a need to continue improving the nature of the score made across time (Fouracre et al., 2021). In General, it was found that doping had undermined the respectability and integrity of the sport of kings. The jockeys’ health is also at risk as the horse may suffer a major fracture during a race, exposing its jockey and other people to injuries.
Furthermore, it was also found that horse doping increased the probability of the jockeys engaging in recreational drug use. In addition, the pressure of persistent excellent performance, which leads to horse doping, has led to drug abuse amongst the jockeys. What’s more, the sport of kings is a high-stress and dangerous work environment. This has led to the abuse of substances like marijuana and cocaine.
Gambling in the sport of kings was closely related to horse doping, a phenomenon known as enhancing the odds of a horse race. This can be attributed to the fact that placing a financial stake to a desirable outcome incentivizes drugs that enhance the horses’ performance or even the administration of drugs that reduce a horse’s performance that one to lose (Baoutina et al., 2017).
Due to its aggregate impact in the sport of kings, gambling has been banned in some of the race tracks to guarantee the well-being of the animals. Horse racing gambling incentivizes the participants to violate the fair play principles.
In conclusion, this study has shown that horse doping is a significant challenge in kings’ sport, something that can be attributed to its high prevalence and severe consequences. It is a form of exploiting the horses and thus is a form of abuse.
- Fragkaki, A.G., Kioukia Fougia, N., Kiousi, P., Kioussi, M. and Tsivou, M., 2017. Challenges in detecting substances for equine anti doping. Drug testing and analysis, 9(9), pp.1291- 1303.
- Keen, B., Cawley, A., Fouracre, C., Pyke, J. and Fu, S., 2021. Towards an untargeted mass spectrometric approach for improved screening in equine anti doping. Drug Testing and Analysis.
- Moreira, F., Carmo, H., Guedes de Pinho, P. and Bastos, M.D.L., 2021. Doping detection in animals: A review of analytical methodologies published from 1990 to 2019. Drug Testing and Analysis, 13(3), pp.474-504.
- Slifer, P., 2018. A Review of Therapeutic Drugs Used for Doping of Race Horses: NSAIDs, Acepromazine, and Furosemide.
- Smith, K.J., 2018. Racing to the Lab: Issues and Solutions for Abolishing Performance-Enhancing Drug Abuse in Horse Racing.
- Tozaki, T., Karasawa, K., Minamijima, Y., Ishii, H., Kikuchi, M., Kakoi, H., Hirota, K.I., Kusano, K. and Nagata, S.I., 2018. Detection of phosphorothioated (PS) oligonucleotides in horse plasma using a product ion (m/z 94.9362) derived from the PS moiety for doping control. BMC research notes, 11(1), pp.1-5.
- Wilkin, T., Baoutina, A. and Hamilton, N., 2017. Equine performance genes and the future of doping in horseracing. Drug testing and analysis, 9(9), pp.1456-1471.