Feed Contamination Possible in Case of South Carolina Horse Deaths

by | 01.27.2015 | 8:55am

ADM Alliance Nutrition, an equine feed manufacturer, has been named in some news outlets and on social media as a potential connection to the death of three South Carolina horses and the sickening of another.

Anne Kennedy, the farm owner of the barn where the horses resided, fed ADM Alliance 12 percent horse feed. Kennedy told TheHorse.com that the three horses in question were treated at the Edisto Equine Clinic in Yonges Island, S.C. for signs of colic. They later died.

Kennedy then sent a feed sample to Michigan State University's Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health in Lansing to be tested for contamination. The sample came back negative for ionophores (monensin), but a postscript indicated that the toxin had been found in trace quantities.

An antibiotic used in cattle feed to promote weight gain, ionophores can be toxic to horses. Affected horses may show incoordination, weakness and increased heart rate, then respiratory distress and inability to rise. Typically, horses that ingest monensin die very quickly. Monensin can be present in horse feed if the mill manufacturing the feed also produces cattle or other ruminant feed, and the machines used to make the feed are not completely cleaned in between feed production.

ADM has sent additional feed samples to be tested for contamination.

Read the original article here.

The same substance, though in a different brand of feed, was involved in another contamination incident earlier this year in Florida. Lakeland Animal Nutrition was found by the state to have produced and distributed horse feed that contained monensin and lasolocid, which, as of early January, had killed 11 horses.

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