ANABOLIC STEROIDS THE CANINE TRUTH BY Brock Ritchie RVT, PRLAT


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Anabolic steroid compounds are related to the male hormone testosterone. They are referred to as anabolic steroids because they cause the formation of new proteins. Athletes trying to increase strength and muscle mass often abuse them, their use in canine medicine while infrequent, is related to these and similar properties. Anabolic steroids come in liquid forms for injection and tablets for oral administration. Three of the most commonly used are stanozolol (Winstrol V, Pharmacia & Upjohn Company), nandrolone (DecaDurabolin, ScheringPlough) and boldenone (Equipoise, Fort Dodge). These medications are closely related to testosterone and many of the problems associated with their usage are brought on by the normal actions of the male hormones. Blackmarket steroids often contain questionable ingredients, sometimes even dangerous to the user. The means in which they are made, packaged and distributed are usually not sterile and done without any regards to the user or the public. Without getting too technical, here is a brief list of the detrimental effects that using these products can cause to dogs. Anabolic steroid usage can cause cessation of heat cycles and male behavior in females. In males, they have been found to increase the incidence of prostate disease and certain hernia’s and tumors that are caused by normal testosterone levels in older male dogs. Anabolic steroids also cause water retention and this can cause additional complications in kidney or heart failure patients. These products also increase the absorption of calcium by the intestinal tract and cause the kidneys to retain calcium during normal urine production. Both of these actions lead to excessively high calcium levels in the blood, which can be disastrous to normal kidney and heart function. This can be quickly fatal in those with already failing hearts and kidney’s. Normal sperm production is often disrupted, with few new cells being formed. Sperm problems are considered insignificant in clinical cases, as many of the patients are already in a life or death In closing I would like to add that the health of our animals should always come first in out minds and hearts. They MUST come before our own competitive nature. If you think of your dog’s health first, they will always give you all they can be.

Other substances possibly in use:

ETORPHINE (elephant juice) a tranquilizer for large animals such as elephants, it can be a most powerful stimulant if applied correctly to animals. Caused a sensation in WA racing, especially in the 1980s.

NARCOTIC ANALGESICS (pain relief) for some reason in some animals you give the narcotic analgesics in small doses and they actually are quite powerful stimulants.

ERYTHROPOIETIN (EPO) increases RBC’s and therefore O2 intake. Thousands of samples from racehorses have been tested for EPO over the past few years, but not one positive has been found.

CLENBUTEROL widely used bronchodilator in many parts of the world. Clenbuterol is a very interesting and remarkable compound. Clenbuterol is not a steroid hormone but a beta-2-symphatomimetic. Clenbuterol, above all, has a strong anti-catabolic effect, which means it decreases the rate at which protein is reduced in the muscle cell, consequently causing an enlargement of muscle cells.

CAFFEINE/RED BULL & RELATED DRINKS A noted stimulant popular for many years.

BETA BLOCKERS beta blockers are used to slow their heart rate down. In animals they would appear normal, but the heart wouldn’t go any faster so the animal would just not stop.

PHENYLBUTAZONE has a pain-killing and anti-inflammatory property, which means an animal with congenital defects or soreness due to injury will perform better.

SODIUM BICARBONATE In large doses can “mop up” the lactic acid that comes with muscle activity. Allows the animal to sustain and perform for longer.

BLUE MAGIC known as propantheline bromide, it is used to help relax muscles, which leads to increased blood flow. Several leading harness racing figures have been charged with its use.

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