Immunoassay detection of drugs in racing horses. III. Detection of morphine in equine blood and urine by a one step ELISA assay

J. McDonald, R. Gall, P. Wiedenbach, V. D. Bass, B. DeLeon, C. Brockus, D. Stobert, S. Wie, C. A. Prange, F. J. Ozog, M. T. Green, W. E. Woods, C. L. Tai, M. R. Dai, T. J. Weckman, H. H. Tai, J. M. Yang, S. L. Chang, J. W. Blake, T. Tobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A one step enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test for morphine was evaluated as part of a panel of pre- and post-race tests for narcotic analgesics in racing horses. This ELISA test is very sensitive to morphine with an I-50 for morphine of about 400 pg/ml. The test is also rapid, and ten samples, a normal pre-race complement, can be analyzed in about thirty minutes. The test can be read with an inexpensive spectrophotometer, or even by eye. The test readily detects the presence of morphine or its metabolites in equine blood for up to six hours after administration of sub-therapeutic doses. The antibody also cross-reacts with hydromorphone, orymorphone, nalorphine, levorphanol, and codeine, and the test either can detect or is likely to detect these drugs in blood or urine shortly after their administration to horses. As such this test is capable of dramatically improving the speed and efficacy of both pre-race and post-race testing for morphine and its congeners in racing horses. On initial introduction into post-race urine screening this test flagged 18 of 166 samples positive for opiates, and 13 of these samples were confirmed positive for opiates by mass spectrometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-278
Number of pages20
JournalResearch Communications in Chemical Pathology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (all)


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