Contaminated Hay Kills 6 Horses

Blister Beetle
One variety of Blister Beetle

In North Carolina, 6 horses have died after eating hay shipped in from Kansas and sold at feed stores in Louisburg and Middlesex.  The hay was contaminated with blister beetles, small insects that are known to be poisonous to horses.  Just a few beetles eaten in a serving of alfalfa is enough to be lethal to an otherwise healthy adult horse.  Sound harvesting and bailing techniques can lower the risk of contaminated hay, including harvesting and bailing before or after the alfalfa blooms.  Using hay balers without hay conditioners (crushing the hay stems to allow them to dry faster) allows the beetles to escape.

The owner of D&B Acre’s, Dolly Colbert, reported that 4 of the horses on the farm died within 12 hours of eating the contaminated hay.  Several other horses are sick at the farm but are expected to recover.

Dale Williams

Author: Dale Williams <-- Become my friend on Facebook! - Phone: 724-964-6773


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