Polo Player Tells Press that Vitamin Supplement Likely Caused Sunday Deaths in Florida

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by Fran Jurga | 22 April 2009 | The Jurga Report

The team captain of Lechuza Caracas told the press in South America today that a vitamin supplement was probably the cause of the death of 22 polo ponies in Wellington, Florida on Sunday, April 19. As pathologists labor on at state laboratories looking for evidence in tissue samples taken from the bodies, the press pushes for something to blame, and came up with this today.

At the risk of quoting a US news agency and a South Florida newspaper quoting a Spanish-language South American news source, I suggest you click here and read this story.

It sounds like the supplement is a typical vitamin combination used for competition athletes to aid in recovery and possibly avoid problems like tying up.

While the exact supplement is not approved for sale in the United States, it is sold in Europe, where requirements are quite stringent for approval so this is not some sort of illicit cocktail.

The International Society for Infectious Diseases at Harvard University has been following the polo disaster and the moderator on their discussion list offered this commentary today:

"Biodyl is manufactured by Merial in France. The product is not sold in the US, but it is believed that the team purchased a generic brand in the US. If that is the case, then it may be a compounded (specifically made by a pharmacy) product. (This is mentioned in the article above.)

"Even if the product is a compounded product it does not mean the pharmacy is at fault. Any person seeking to maliciously harm the team or the animals could have injected the bottles. Although the team captain seems certain it was the supplement, it remains unproven as of this writing.

"There is also the possibility of a mixing error, and that there is too much or too little of a substance in the mixture. The moderator understands that University of Florida at Gainesville completed the gross necropsies and that now the task of testing tissues and examining them histologically will begin. Perhaps the university will reach out to other diagnostic laboratories to help diagnose and confirm what has happened. There are a number of good toxicology and veterinary drug testing laboratories across the country.

"We remain hopeful that urine on these animals was collected as it is an excellent sample for testing for drugs, in the event the bottles of vitamin mix were tainted with something."