Further to the Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency's (CPMA) Industry Notice dated April 6, 2017, regarding the implementation of CPMA cobalt testing effective May 1, 2017, the CPMA has received questions about what this means from a practical perspective given that cobalt occurs naturally in the horse.
As you may know, several provinces have been testing for cobalt for the past couple of years. The provincial testing of cobalt was in blood only, using a threshold of SO ng/ml.
The CPMA added cobalt to the list of quantitatively prohibited substances (section 2 of the schedule to the Pari-Mutuel Betting Supervision Regulations) in February of this year. After much research and collaboration with international regulators, it was determined that the thresholds for cobalt would be 25 ng/mL in blood and 100 ng/mL in urine. These levels are consistent with thresholds used in many other international jurisdictions.
The CPMA's research indicates that vitamin supplements, when used alone and according to label directions, should not increase cobalt levels enough to cause a positive test. In addition, our research Indicates that when horses were allowed free access to cobalt-containing salt blocks, there was little to no effect on the horse's cobalt levels.
Cobalt levels may build up over time when given repeatedly, and its elimination from the horse can take an extended period of time. It is always good practice to take care and to read the list of ingredients when choosing products that are administered to horses. As with all medications and supplements, owners and trainers should discuss the use of cobalt supplements with their veterinarian.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact CPMA.