Hay tainted by toxic beetles kills 14 horses in Wisconsin

National

In this Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 photo, Red Ridge Ranch equestrian riding center owner Lyle Peterson walks one of the business’ Belgian horses on the property in Mauston, Wis. More than 100 of the ranch’s horses were sickened after ingesting contaminated hay obtained from out-of-state suppliers. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

MAUSTON, Wis. (AP) — Hay tainted by a toxic beetle is blamed for the deaths of 14 horses and illnesses to dozens of others on a Wisconsin ranch.

Summer flooding left the hay from fields at Red Ridge Riding Stable in Mauston unusable.

So, the owners purchased hay and alfalfa from farms in South Dakota and Wyoming.

A blister beetle that releases a toxin when crushed during harvest is blamed for the horses’ deaths and for sickening another 100 horses.

Veterinarian Dave Kolb tells the Wisconsin State Journal the toxin irritates the linings of horses’ stomachs and intestines.

There were no reports of horse deaths elsewhere related to the tainted hay.

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Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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