The California Horse Racing Board found the prohibited drug zilpaterol in several horse feed products produced by brand. The CHRB found zilpaterol in 48 horses racing on California tracks since March 1. The products are reportedly limited to those manufactured in February 2013 at the Turlock mill.
Zilpaterol is a banned substance for race horses. Zilpaterol is a beta-2 agonist used to promote weight gain in livestock – mainly cattle. ARCI classifies zilpaterol as a Class 3 drug with a Category A penalty.
According to Purina, the product is not a safety issue for horses. A study published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science in 2008 says something different, however. It states oral administration of zilpaterol to horses at the dosage indicated for use in cattle may result in prolonged adverse effects, including tachycardia, muscle tremors, and renal damage.
The products in question are sold under the Purina or Country Acres labels. Products manufactured at Turlock will have the letters “TRL” in the date code found on the seam of the bag. The CHRB has issued an advisory for the following products:
• Purina Race Ready
• Purina Strategy
• Purina Omolene 200
• Country Acres Horse Feed
• Country Acres Sweet-12
Any licensed trainer or feed company with an unopened bag of any Purina brand from mid-February milled at their Turlock plant, is asked to contact their local CHRB investigator.
The CHRB has been working with the California Department of Food and Agriculture on the issue. Purina says it is co-operating with the racing board’s investigation and is conducting its own.
In a statement, Purina says, “We have had no reports of any horse health issues, nor would we expect any, related to these low levels of zilpaterol.” Purina Animal Nutrition says it does not use zilpaterol at the Turlock facility or at any Purina plant.
“At this time, our investigation has led us to look closely at a single ingredient from a single supplier, impacting the Turlock facility only. As soon as tests confirm feed manufactured at Turlock is free of zilpaterol, we will make that product available.”