Two horses die of contaminated feed

05-10-2007 | |

Two horses in New Zealand died after eating a feed of mixed chaff, copra and proprietary horse feed. In the mixture traces of monensin and lasalocid were found.

Veterinarians and researchers from New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA)
found the proprietary feed was contaminated, but not to a fatal extent for
horses. Hence, the actual cause of death remains unknown.

They found no
evidence of exotic disease, infectious agent, or poisoning from 1080  (sodium
monofluoroacetate) or selenium. The chaff and copra was cleared of any

Allergy in horses
Horses are known to be allergic to monensin  and lasalocid,  known as ionophores,  commonly used in feeds manufactured for poultry
and ruminants such as cattle, pigs and sheep, but are not registered for use in
horse feed.

The manufacturer, whose name has not been released, has been
ordered to improve manufacturing procedures, and its products are being
monitored by the NZFSA.

Too low levels
An NZFSA official says
the levels of monensin were not judged sufficient to cause sudden death in the
two horses, but the presence of any ionophore in horse feed was considered an
indicator of potential contamination. No horse feed should contain

Compliance action was taken against the manufacturer, which
changed the manufacturing process for new batches of the feed. This is being
monitored by the NZFSA.

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