Botulism Suspected at Florida Horse Farm

Botulism is the suspected cause of 100 horse deaths at a Marion County Florida horse farm. The horse farm is an embryo transfer facility, and all of the 100 horses that died were fed hay that may have contained the disease. None of the other horses located on the farm that were NOT fed this feed have shown signs of illness.

Haylage is essentially a hay cube – that has been wrapped in air tight plastic and has fermented. It provides a convenient long lasting feeding method when prepared and done correctly. However, there is the obvious downside with using this type of horse feed, is if a contaminant (such as a dead mouse) makes its way into the package, is that the contaminant can decay to the point that its not seen or able to be detected – and it may still have enough of the toxin spores to kill a horse.

Despite the high degree of likelihood that the source of the problem has been identified, state officials are still investigating the horse farm to ensure that the problem is what they believe it to be.