TESTOSTERONE THRESHOLD RULE

Friday 18 August 2013

Greyhounds Australasia (GA) on behalf of its members wishes to clarify its testosterone threshold rule in regard to the establishment of a “testosterone threshold level in bitches”.

The testosterone threshold rule was formally communicated to industry in October 2012, and took effect from 1 January 2013 following lengthy local and international research into the level at which testosterone occurs naturally in bitches. This research then enabled GA to determine an appropriate natural threshold, above which it would be clear that testosterone had been artificially increased. In this regard, the key facts are:  

  • 187 samples were taken from greyhound bitches not on any prescription medication in Australia and New Zealand. The samples were taken by a Control Body representative, and validated against a populated collection sheet clearly identifying individual samples, prior to being sent to Racing Analytical Services Limited for analysis. 
  • Of the 187 bitches studied more than 80% of bitches showed no 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol (BaB) at all, with a maximum of 1.03 ng/mL found.  
  • This information was exchanged internationally with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain and their testing laboratory, namely the LGC Group’s HFL Sport Science who were undertaking a similar exercise.  
  • A study by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain of bitches in oestrus showed very low levels of BaB throughout the cycle. Therefore, it is not expected that a bitch coming into oestrus or inadvertently racing while in oestrus would return a prohibited level of BaB.  
  • To further validate the threshold level, trials were also undertaken on 6 bitches by a professional research company SCEC Pty Ltd in conjunction with the NSW accredited laboratory, the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory. This trial involved administration of Testosterone Propionate, with levels of BaB peaking at over 100 ng/ml and remaining over the 10 ng/mL limit from under one hour after administration: 
    • up to 98 hours after 25 milligram doses to three (3) bitches, and  
    • up to 120 hours after 50 milligram doses to another three (3) bitches. 
  • Brynn Hibbert, Professor of Analytical Chemistry, University of NSW was then engaged to undertake statistical modelling and to validate the Australian/New Zealand and international research.  
  • A review of a draft of the proposed rule by a nationally recognised firm of lawyers occurred prior to consideration and adoption by the members of GA.  
  • GA’s evaluation of the analytical and statistical studies by highly qualified experts, locally and internationally, enabled the establishment of a statistically-robust testosterone threshold level, set at above 10.0 ng/mL for the testosterone metabolite BaB. 

Taking into consideration the key facts presented it is evident that the chances of a greyhound bitch naturally exceeding the threshold level to be extremely remote.

In closing, we advise that since 1 January 2013 when this new rule was introduced over 3,643 swabs on bitches have been taken nationally, with 31 of these returning a positive or irregularity, less than 1%.  

Disclaimer

All
participants take full responsibility for their compliance with the rules,
which contain, amongst other things, provisions relating to prohibited
substances. This release is for the purpose of general communication and will
not be a defence in the event of a breach of the rules.

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