Cobalt Administration And Racehorse Performance: What’s The Link?

It’s been believed that cobalt can be used as a performance-enhancing drug in racehorses by altering the biochemical parameters related to red blood cell production. However, a recent study has shown that a sterile solution of cobalt salts given intravenously for three days did not affect the aerobic of anaerobic performance in fit Standardbred racehorses. It also did not affect the plasma erythropoein concentrations.

The study was a collaboration between the Equine Science Center at Rutgers University, Equine Integrated Medicine in Georgetown, KY; Duer Forensic Toxicology in Clearwater, FL; and the New York Drug Testing and Research Program at Morrisville State College.

The researchers used 245 Standardbreds on farms in New York, New Jersey and from Rutgers. None of the horses had had cobalt supplementation before the study. The study team determined that the threshold of most racing jurisdiction, which is 25 micrograms per liter of plasma, may result in horses exceeding the threshold without excessive cobalt administration. They suggest that 71 micrograms per liter if cobalt be considered acceptable.

The study did not address the administering of massive doses of cobalt that racing officials have suggested are being used on horses to enhance their performance. The team notes that horses do not have the same toxicity threshold for cobalt that humans do at 300 micrograms per liter of plasma.

Read more at EquiMed.

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