EQUUS - - Eq Medical Front -

The prac­tice of “dop­ing” race­horses with cobalt chlo­ride not only fails to en­hance their per­for­mance but also puts their health at risk, ac­cord­ing to a re­view study from Eng­land.

Cobalt is an es­sen­tial trace min­eral that is im­por­tant in the for­ma­tion of the vi­ta­min B12 com­plex and as an ac­ti­va­tor of en­zymes in­volved in the oxy­gen-car­ry­ing func­tion of red blood cells. Although it is a banned sub­stance in many rac­ing ju­ris­dic­tions, some un­scrupu­lous train­ers ad­min­is­ter cobalt chlo­ride to horses ei­ther in­tra­venously or orally in hopes of in­creas­ing the oxy­gen-car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity of their blood and thus en­hanc­ing their per­for­mance.

Univer­sity of Sur­rey re­searchers note, how­ever, that stud­ies have shown that the min­eral can ac­cu­mu­late to toxic lev­els in the body or­gans and can cause other health prob­lems. In par­tic­u­lar, the re­searchers say, high blood lev­els of cobalt can have ad­verse ef­fects on a horse’s car­diac and ner­vous sys­tems.

In ad­di­tion, the re­searchers note, cobalt sup­ple­men­ta­tion may ac­tu­ally be dele­te­ri­ous to equine per­for­mance, po­ten­tially interferin­g with car­diac mus­cle func­tion.



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