In a follow-up on the suspected botulism outbreak in horses in Louisiana, federal officials know of at least 98 horses in Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas who showed neurologic symptoms. At least 45 of these horses have died or were euthanized due to declining health.
The symptoms reported are consistent with botulism, and while further testing is underway to pinpoint the cause of the horse illnesses, horse owners and handlers should take precautions to protect human and animal health. Immediately consult a veterinarian if your horse ate this product and shows signs of neurologic illness, such as muscle tremors, difficulty eating or swallowing, difficulty standing, or collapse.
Necropsies of some of the horses are underway or pending. At this time, it appears that Top of the Rockies alfalfa cubes was the only common food source among all of the cases.
The Food and Drug Administration is cautioning horse owners not to feed Top of the Rockies alfalfa cubes with the date codes 111222, 111322, 111422, 111522, and 111622.
Some of the alfalfa cubes have been reported to contain what appears to be fur and animal tissues, indicating that material from an animal or animals may have been incorporated into the cubes during alfalfa harvesting. Some people have reported a foul odor in some of the bags. Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium that causes botulism, is commonly present in decaying animal carcasses. Testing of the alfalfa cubes and other feed and tissue samples is in progress.
The alfalfa cubes have been recalled by Manzanola Feeds of Manzanola, CO, which distributes products directly to feed stores and co-ops in 10 states.
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