The Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) will fund a series of research studies on the effects of Cobalt in racehorses, partnering with veterinary clinicians and scientists from the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Ohio Department of Agriculture Analytical Toxicology Laboratory which has accreditation from the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) and the Racing Medication Testing Consortium (RMTC), it was announced April 28 at the commission's monthly meeting in Columbus.
“We are funding a comprehensive study on the effects of Cobalt in racehorses and a portion of it will be funded via money set aside from the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund (OSDF) and the Ohio Thoroughbred Race Fund (OTRF),” said OSRC Chairman Robert Schmitz.
“Cobalt is a very timely topic and we have evidence of Cobalt abuse in Ohio racehorses,” said Dr. James T. Robertson, DVM, DACVS. “We will establish a threshold for Cobalt; however, we still want to know more about how cobalt administration affects the horse.”
“This will be the most comprehensive, detailed series of studies of the effect of Cobalt on racehorses to date in this country,” Chairman Schmitz advised. “The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine has the equine researchers, clinicians and statisticians to facilitate these studies. We are also going to ask other racing commissions, racing associations and organizations to participate in this study both financially and intellectually.”
Dr. Rustin Moore, DVM, PhD, DACVS, the Executive Director of the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center and Associate Executive Dean, who has been helping to facilitate planning of these studies, said the initial studies could cost $100,000 or more; however, since planning and design are ongoing the exact budget will not be known until the study design is completed.
“We've met several times over the last two months to discuss developing and design of a comprehensive series of studies to evaluate Cobalt,” Dr. Moore stressed. “There's very little published data on it currently and we don't want to duplicate information unnecessarily. We are trying to gather as much information, both published and unpublished, to help in designing the studies. When we get results we want them to address the important questions and be scientifically sound and applicable.
“These types of studies take time to develop and we want to define broad categories, such as: How does the body affect the distribution and elimination of Cobalt? What are the levels are reached in blood and tissues in response to various types and doses of oral supplements and IV administration? What are the effects, both physiologic and pathophysiologic (adverse or toxic), on the horse? Are there any potential performance-enhancing effects on horses or indicators that could suggest the need for further studies to assess the effect of Cobalt on performance? The question of the potential additive effects that oral supplements and IV administration could contribute to either a performance-enhancing effect or potential toxicities.”
Chairman Schmitz said the OSRC will ask chemists to voice their opinions regarding these same issues at an OSRC meeting on June 23. This will be the fourth in a series of meetings.
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