Two SPARK writers had the opportunity to attend a meeting at the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario last week in order to discuss the latest research involving the doping of racehorses with erythropoietin (EPO), a performance-enhancing hormone.
The meeting brought together representatives from a variety of sectors within the racehorse industry into a “taskforce” to discuss the problems of detecting EPO as well as what the proper consequences of EPO use should be.
Dr. Dorothee Bienzle from the OVC Department of Pathobiology presented her research which involves developing a test able to detect abnormally high-levels of hemoglobin in horses’ blood – this is a strong indicator for EPO use.
The taskforce will reconvene after Bienzle’s research has been completed to establish whether regulations regarding acceptable hemoglobin levels might be implemented.
Eliminating EPO use in race horses will ensure integrity of the horse racing industry.