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CPMA To Test For Cobalt

Published: February 16, 2015 2:37 pm ET

Last Comment: February 19, 2015 11:35 am ET | 6 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

On Monday, the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency issued a statement regarding its position on the use of cobalt in racehorses.

The statement appears in English below and in French within the attached PDF.


Given the recent publicity surrounding cobalt, the purpose of this notice is to provide the racing industry with information with respect to the CPMA's position on this substance.

Cobalt is a naturally occurring, trace element present in all horses at very low levels. It can also be found in several feedstuffs and supplements such as vitamin B12. The CPMA has not tested for cobalt since it is not listed in the Schedule of Drugs in the Pari-Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations (the Regulations).

Horse racing regulators around the world are investigating allegations that large amounts of cobalt have been administered to racehorses in the belief that they will enhance performance by inducing the production of red blood cells.

As you may be aware, a threshold of 100ng/mL in urine has been proposed by several international regulators and, in the United States, several jurisdictions have implemented thresholds between 25 and 70 ng/mL in blood.

Recently, the CPMA has undertaken a number of research initiatives in regard to the use of cobalt in Canada. We have worked with Maxxam Analytics (our official laboratory), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and the University of Kentucky. The CPMA presented these research findings at the International Conference of Racing Analysts and Veterinarians late last year. The CPMA has also collaborated with other racing jurisdictions and has made considerable progress towards understanding the complexities in controlling the use of this naturally occurring substance.

Effective immediately, the CPMA will begin testing for elevated levels of cobalt in official samples collected at Canadian racetracks however Certificates of Positive Analysis will not be issued by the CPMA until the Regulations have been amended to include cobalt in the Schedule of Drugs. Results of this testing will be used to establish an appropriate threshold in Canada and data will be shared with Provincial Racing Commissions who may wish to initiate more immediate measures to address the use/misuse of this substance.

Cobalt levels may build up over time when given repeatedly and its elimination from the horse can take an extended period of time. As such, owners and trainers should govern themselves accordingly as, once the Regulations are amended, Certificates of Positive Analysis will be issued immediately based upon the established threshold.

At this time, there are no elimination guidelines for therapeutic doses of cobalt or veterinary approved forms of injectable cobalt. However, current knowledge would suggest that under no circumstances should supplementary oral cobalt be given within 48 hours of racing.

As with all medications and supplements, owners and trainers should discuss the use of cobalt supplements with their veterinarian.

Should you have any questions with respect to the contents of the memorandum, please contact the CPMA at 1-800-268-8835, or email at [email protected].

(CPMA)


February 19, 2015 - 11:35 amAs many of us know, far too

Lynne Magee SAID...

As many of us know, far too many horse people know very little about the balanced nutritional needs of a horse (especially one that is racing) and believe that 'if some is good, a whole lot more is better' and this is where the problems begin. A reasonable threshold needs to be established asap with strict adherence by the governing bodies in regards to suspensions and fines for positive test results. It is suspected that too much cobalt can be life-threatening for horses and has the potential to cause thyroid malfunction as well.

February 18, 2015 - 12:03 pmI read with interest the news

I read with interest the news on CPMA testing for cobalt.

I have been an equine nutritionist since the early 1970,s and am certified by examination as such by the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. I have also owned Standardbred racehorses since the 1980’s. I am wondering if the CPMA is going to establish baseline intake levels from commercial feeds using different sources of cobalt.

Cobalt is a standard additive in most quality horse feeds, vitamin trace mineral supplements and minerals. There are a multitude of cobalt sources in use by the feed industry which have significantly different bioavailability levels. We have cobalt sulphate, cobalt carbonate, and a myriad of different types of cobalt chelates from amino acid chelates, peptide chelates and chelates with other organic compounds. It may be impossible for a trainer to accurately establish a daily intake level.

In Canada there is no requirement for feed manufacturers to list the cobalt content of horse feed on the labels for complete feed. There is a requirement for minerals and small addition supplements.

The type of cobalt in the feed will have a significant impact on absorption and circulating blood levels. Is the CPMA going to establish a safe feeding level for the different forms of cobalt commonly used or is this going to become a decision of the racing commissions when appeals are launched against fines and suspensions.

I become worried when nutritional ingredients in livestock rations become targeted as drugs with no reference to the levels common in equine diets.

Is this the thin edge of the wedge. An argument could be made that many essential nutrients are drugs. Potassium is essential for heart function. The heart controls blood flow and blood flow has an impact on race performance. Is potassium a drug also?

The establishment of rules and regulations to catch a very small number of questionable characters must not infringe on the rights of the majority.

February 17, 2015 - 6:32 pmI think if a Olympic athlete

Kevin Toth SAID...

I think if a Olympic athlete That's had To much carbo hydrates(spaghetti) in their blood should be taught a good Lesson ?? LoL

February 16, 2015 - 8:08 pmProfessional Racing

Professional Racing Organizations have been testing and publicizing the results penalties and need for cobalt testing for over 2 years. Sadly the CPMA is not one of them!!

February 16, 2015 - 6:34 pm"as such owners and trainers

Ted Decker SAID...

"as such owners and trainers should self govern". I hope the industry collects data,establishes a threshold and then sticks to the threshold when the first trainer received a positive. There should be no excuses for going over the limits. Everyone that needs to know has been informed. My fear is just like any other positive test the sentence will be nothing more than allowing the trainer a weeks vacation.

February 16, 2015 - 2:52 pmSo this release tells me that

So this release tells me that its been ok to blast horses full of Cobalt without any consequences and still will be ok because they need to see a threshold limit before they make it a positive for using it.
Did the CPMA stockpile frozen samples to see who has been using it? Will they release that list of trainers? I am sure many gamblers and horsepeople would like to see that list released.


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