Frogs & Horses

June 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

We all know from our childhood that frogs can be slippery, slimey and gooey. But did you know that slime can actually be a drug, and a very powerful one at that?

Waxy Monkey Tree Frog by adamcfink on Flickr

It turns out that the waxy monkey tree frog, a small green critter in the dry prairies of South America, produces the chemical demorphin on its back as a way to ward off predators. Demorphin is an extremely strong chemical that, when consumed, produces an effect 40 times greater than morphine.

And traces of demorphin are now being found in the bloodstreams of racehorses in Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. More than 30 horses so far have been subjected to this chemical treatment. Not only does the drug dull  pain for injured horses, but it simultaneously acts as a stimulant that makes them run faster.

Demorphin can alter the outcomes of races as well. Apparently in the Louisiana Delta Downs, three different horses who had won either first or second place in races were found to have traces of the drug in their bloodstream.

Recent discoveries of these traces are being investigated and will, hopefully, be severely condemned by the racing industry.

To read more about it, here’s an article in the NYTimes.

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