Hyoscine and Atropine

Updated: 1 August 2022
Issued: June 2013

Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) has detected low level traces of hyoscine and atropine in forensic samples which are below reporting levels.

The official samples were collected from multiple horses representing a number of stables from different regions. The trainers involved have been notified.

The most likely source is feed contamination.

RV Veterinary Services advises that it is possible that the presence of hyoscine and atropine may be attributable to the ingestion of plants from the Datura sp., which includes the Thornapple plant, and the Brugsmania sp. which includes the Angels’ Trumpet flower.

Trainers are advised to take the following precautions to minimize the risk of detection of the prohibited substances hyoscine, scopolamine and atropine:

  • Check the internet to obtain further information and photographs of the plant species.
  • Examine horse’s environment for the presence of suspicious plants.
  • Check all feeds and supplements, especially hay and herbal mixtures for the presence of unusual plant material.
  • Contact the RV Veterinary Services to obtain more information if necessary and to report the detection of suspicious plant material.

RV reminds trainers that a number of plants, including Willow spp (contains salicylic acid), tea plants (contains caffeine) and Poppy plant material (contains morphine) may contain prohibited substances. Trainers should regularly check their horse’s environment and feedstuffs for the presence of suspicious plant material.