Friday, October 10, 2008

Mysterious illness kills 100 horses at Florida Farm

Marion County is in central Florida. Here's the initial news coverage from FoxNews, and a more detailed story in The Gainsville Sun. Both stories note the deaths are suspected to have been caused by bad hay, but toxicology isn't showing anything definite yet.

EquiTransfer LLC is an embryo transfer facility standing Paso Fino and Gypsy Vanner stallions. According to their website they have over 900 mares (two farms, 37 and 80 acres respectively), and have accomplished over 1,000 successful embryo transfers in the past two years. They also offer breeding management, frozen semen, insemination, and semen evaluation. The site gives stats back to 2002, and since the vet in charge "performed his first embryo transfer in 2001," I'm guessing they've been in business about 6 years.

Scary and horrible.


Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

When I lived in CA back in the late 80's, early 90's- don't remember what year it was, but we had a huge bocholism (sp) scare. Apparently some rabbits got into the hay balers and contaminated the alfalfa. The hay cubes were more of a threat because they were compressed...I think 3 horses died as a result at our stable and many more at surrounding ones. I remember having to keep my horse in her stall, we were told exercise could trigger the bad reaction. We were told to look for trembling shoulders and twitching. I watched my mare like a hawk that whole time and thankfully she was fine.
This sounds very similar to that.

SunnySD said...

Very scary. I know my mom watches the dogs really carefully to make sure they don't get hold of any bunny poop for the same reason.

My husband's from Kansas, and he talks about blister beetles in the alfalfa. Luckily, we don't worry about them up here so much. But one of the mares got into something last winter that sent her into anyphalactic (sp) shock. The vet came in time, and she was fine, but it was definitely an eye opener. We could only speculate she'd eaten some odd bug in the hay, as that was all they'd had yet that day. But none of the others were affected.