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Am J Vet Res. 1997 Mar;58(3):224-7.

Excretion of the anabolic steroid boldenone by racing pigeons.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Munich, Germany.



To detect the anabolic steroid bolden-one and to monitor its elimination in the droppings (hereafter referred to as feces) of pigeons treated with the drug.


8 female pigeons ("Texas" race, 500 +/- 20 g).


4 pigeons were given boldenone-17-undecylenate (10 mg/kg of body weight, IM). Feces were collected over defined periods, freeze-dried, extracted with buffer (pH 7.2), and centrifuged. Total immunoreactivity in the supernatant was determined directly by use of an ELISA, and individual boldenone concentration was measured by use of a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)/ELISA after solvent extraction of the aqueous phase. An additional 4 pigeons received a 1-mg/kg dose of the drug.


Screening of feces from boldenone-treated pigeons revealed detection of the drug up to 49 days after its administration. The free parent compound was detected during the same period at a constant value of 12 ng/g of lyophilized feces. Positive results predicted by screening were reliably confirmed by the HPLC/ ELISA. Treatment of pigeons with a lower dosage (1 mg/kg) yielded positive results for 31 days.


Illegal medication of pigeons with the anabolic steroid boldenone can be uncovered by screening of feces, using a specific ELISA. Confirmation analysis by use of 2 HPLC systems combined with ELISA reliably yields evidence of drug misuse. Owing to the multiple immunoreactive material, the apparent boldenone concentrations registered by screening markedly exceeded the immunoreactivity attributed to boldenone recovered by HPLC/ELISA. Because the test yields positive results in pigeons for at least 31 days after a single treatment, even at a low dosage of the 17-undecylenate preparation (1 mg/kg), the proposed boldenone test procedure is recommended for doping control in racing pigeons.

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