News last update:6 Aug 2012

Polo horses in Florida died of overdosis selenium

The pharmacy that had mixed a medication for polo horses has confirmed that overdose of the mineral selenium probably brought about the deaths of 21 prized polo horses at the US Open polo tournament in Florida.

Franck's Pharmacy of Ocala, Fla., concluded from an internal review conducted after the horses' deaths found that "the strength of an ingredient [selenium] in the medication was incorrect."
 It had attempted, at the request of the Lechuza Caracas polo team's veterinarian, to formulate a substitute for a medication called Biodyl, a supplement used to help horses bounce back from strenuous exercise, and which is illegal in the US.
It's legal and widely used in many other countries, including the Lechuza team's native Venezuela, where it was apparently given to the horses on a regular basis.
The medication was apparently given to the horses shortly before they began to collapse.
It's unclear if the dosage mistake was due to a pharmacy error or if the incorrect amount was specified in a prescription from the team's veterinarian.
Also unclear is whether the pharmacy broke any law by attempting to replicate the formula for a medication unapproved for use in the US.
Further investigations are continued.

Dick Ziggers

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