Top of The Rockies Hay Cubes, which are produced by Mazanola Feeds, released a statement on Nov. 12 asking customers to stop feeding their horses any product dated Nov. 11 through 14.
At least 15 horses have contracted what veterinarians believe is botulism from the cubes; 10 have been euthanized, two died within 48 hours and two are being treated. The condition of the remaining horse is unknown. The ill horses are located in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana, reports The Horse.
Samples of various feeds, round bale hay, and water ingested by the sick horses has been sent to the United States Department of Agriculture laboratories in Ames, Iowa, Colorado State University, and the University of California, Davis.
Horses that contract botulism have difficulty swallowing and excessive salivation. They also will have exercise intolerance and weak eyelid and tail tone. How rapidly the horse’s condition declines is related to how much toxin is ingested. Severe cases may result in respiratory paralysis and heart failure.
Botulism is the most potent biological toxin known. It can be contracted by horses in multiple ways, but it’s suspected that ingestion of animal carcass remnants in feed is the cause of this outbreak. It can also be caused by improperly preserved hay or silage. Botulism spores can also be found in the soil and can contaminate wounds or, when ingested, cause Shaker Foal Syndrome.
A vaccine is available, but is not considered a core vaccination by the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
Learn more about botulism here.
Read more at The Horse.