At the request of the Service des Haras, our laboratory works on the toxicological problems of the sport-horse. These studies have resulted in the setting up of an anti-doping control for equestrian competitions of various types, not only flat racing. During events, horses, must be calm and docile to the riders' order. Frequently, the latter use tranquillizers to try and win events. The analytical method for the research and identification of these compounds is described. The technique involves successively: 1. alkalinisation of the sample - saliva, blood or urine after enzymatic hydrolysis. 2. extraction with diethyl ether - the recovery is 70% to 90% depending upon the drug. 3. determination by gas-liquid chromatography with use of a retention index for qualitative analysis. We can detect up to fifteen tranquillizers in any one sample, even when present at such low concentrations as found in saliva. The use of the retention index is a reliable method for qualitative analysis. For example, the method has been used for three years, during which period the rentention index of acetylpromazine remained at 3240 +/- 7. The chromatographic analysis was performed on 3% OV-17 at 290 degrees. The chromatographic analysis has been performed by three columns of different polarity (OV-1; OV-17; SP-2250). If on the three columns, the retention index of one peak is the same as that of the tranquilizer, a further confirmation is made with the use of a thermionic detector specific for nitrogenous drugs. In conclusion, this method which is sufficiently precise and specific has been used for anti-doping control.
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