Hair Analysis Detects Drugs in Horses Weeks, Months After Administration

In a recent study, Chinese researchers validated a new hair test that can detect well over 100 prohibited substances in a single analytical run, even weeks and even months after doping occurred.

Hair Analysis Detects Drugs in Horses
Compared to blood or urine, hair is the biological matrix that can provide the longest detection window—months instead of days. | Photo: iStock

In the race for the ultimate drug test, Chinese researchers just got a few lengths ahead. In fact, you might even say they got a hundred lengths ahead.

That’s because they’ve validated a new hair test that can detect a broad range of “well over 100 prohibited substances in a single analytical run,” their recently published study states. And the clincher is this: It can detect doping weeks and even months after it occurred.

“Doping control analysis of a blood or urine sample gives only a snapshot of prohibited substances that may be present in the body at the moment of sample collection,” said Jenny K.Y. Wong, PhD, a racing chemist at The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Racing Laboratory at Sha Tin Racecourse, in

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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