HomeWorldOfficials: Colorado firm's alfalfa cubes can kill horses

Officials: Colorado firm’s alfalfa cubes can kill horses

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — State and federal officials are warning horse owners not to feed their animals Top of the Rockies brand alfalfa buckets after nearly 100 horses developed neurological diseases, 45 of whom died or were euthanized.

The US Food and Drug Administration issued the warning on Saturday. The agency said it is working with state departments of agriculture in Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas to investigate the horse deaths.

Manzanola Feeds of Manzanola, Colo., picked up the bins Friday. The company warns that certain batches may contain bacteria that cause botulism, a fatal paralytic disease. The FDA said more testing is underway to confirm the causes of the reported illnesses.

The company distributed products directly to stores in 10 states, including Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin. The FDA warns that the cubes may have been sold in other states as well.

Symptoms include dizziness, difficulty vocalizing or swallowing, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, bloating, and constipation. Anyone who has fed the cubes to horses or observes symptoms should contact a veterinarian immediately.

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Some cubes have been reported to contain what appears to be animal skin and tissue, which may have been crushed during alfalfa harvest. The bacteria that cause botulism are found in decaying animal carcasses.

Top of the Rockies Alfalfa Cubes are sold in 50 pound tan and white plastic bags with green labels. The date codes are on the front of the package. Potentially contaminated lots include those with date codes 111222, 111322, 111422, 111522, and 111622.

The FDA advises anyone who has the cubes to dispose of them in a safe container. People should wear gloves and a face mask when emptying the bins with the buckets, then apply a bleach solution to any bins or food containers. More Specific Tips on Removal It can be found here.

The Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine said its lab has performed necropsies on 12 horses. Testing of some alfalfa cubes and tissue from those horses is underway at the University of California, Davis, College of Veterinary Medicine.

LSU says a professor of equine medicine is treating other horses with symptoms.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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