LC-MS/MS in Veterinary Medicine: A Powerful Tool for Drug Residue Detection


Veterinary drugs play a vital role in animal health, but their residues can linger in edible tissues like meat, milk, and eggs. These residues pose potential health risks to consumers, including allergic reactions and antibiotic resistance. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) has become a key technique for detecting these veterinary drug residues (VRDs) in various animal products.

How LC-MS/MS Works

LC-MS/MS combines two powerful tools:

  • Liquid Chromatography (LC): Separates VRDs from other substances in a sample based on their chemical properties.
  • Mass Spectrometry (MS): Identifies and quantifies VRDs by measuring their mass and fragmentation patterns. The MS/MS stage provides an extra level of specificity for accurate identification.

Benefits of LC-MS/MS for VRD Detection
  • High Sensitivity: Detects VRDs at very low levels, ensuring compliance with food safety regulations.
  • Specificity: Clearly distinguishes VRDs from other molecules and potential interferences, minimizing false positives.
  • Multi-residue Analysis: Detects a wide range of VRDs from different drug classes in a single test, saving time and resources.
  • Improved Workflow: Modern instruments allow for rapid analysis of large numbers of samples, increasing efficiency.
Challenges of LC-MS/MS
  • Cost: The equipment can be expensive to purchase and maintain.
  • Expertise: Requires skilled personnel to operate and interpret data.
Future Developments

Advancements in LC-MS/MS technology are expected to bring:

  • Even greater sensitivity and selectivity for better VRD detection.
  • Portable instruments for on-site analysis in the field.

LC-MS/MS is a critical tool for ensuring the safety of animal-derived food products. Its ability to detect VRDs with high sensitivity and specificity makes it the leading technique in veterinary medicine and food safety. As technology continues to improve, LC-MS/MS will play an even greater role in safeguarding public health.

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