Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA), a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association, has announced that it supports the new rules governing the use of cobalt in racehorses.
The Australian Racing Board (ARB) has set a threshold for cobalt of 200 micrograms after Racing Victoria has reported some cases where horses have returned a result above this threshold. The new rule came into effect Jan. 1.
Nathan Anthony, BVSc (Hons) MANZCVSc, EVA president, said members of the peak equine veterinary body consider the health and welfare of horses as their first priority.
“Our members take the health and welfare of horses seriously,” he said. “They are registered and regulated by the veterinary practitioners' board in each state and territory which can investigate and discipline any vet who breaches the rules of racing or behaves unprofessionally.
“It is common and necessary to provide vitamin and mineral supplementation to horses in hard athletic training,” he continued. “These supplements do contain small amounts of cobalt and at these levels have no detrimental effect on horses. However, excessive amounts of cobalt can be toxic to horses, and in some cases lead to death. That's why we're very supportive of the ARB's stance on cobalt.”
Cobalt is a trace mineral, and horses only require very small amounts for correct functioning of their physiology.
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