August 25, 2006 -- The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine has advised Land O'Lakes Purina Feed LLC that it has completed its investigation of the Brazos County, Texas, horse mortality incident. Their initial diagnosis of phosphine poisoning resulting from the reported on-farm pesticide application remains the apparent cause of death. Further diagnostic testing revealed no evidence of specific abnormalities indicative of other intoxication in the examined horses.
The findings reconfirm Texas A&M's initial report that the Purina Mills Strategy® bulk feed delivered to the farm was not the source of the issue.
Texas Horse Deaths Not Related to Feed
A Brazos County, Texas, stable has been in the news recently following the sudden death of more than two dozen horses in mid-July. The event attracted national attention and spurred considerable media coverage and Internet
activity--as well as some speculation as to the cause of the illness. Considerable misinformation was disseminated while testing to determine what caused this tragic event was still being carried out.
Friday, July 21, Dr. Richard Adams, Dean of the Texas A&M School of Veterinary Medicine, released a statement indicating that the feed, as manufactured and delivered to the stable, was NOT a causative factor in these deaths. Dr. Adams stated that phosphine gas from a fumigant
pesticide apparently applied to the feed after its delivery was in all likelihood the toxin involved.
"So far, necropsy examination of the animals and toxicologic testing of bodily materials have not revealed any apparent toxicants beyond the phosphine," Dr. Adams said in the Texas A&M news release.
"This appears to have been an unfortunate on-farm accident attributable to the pesticide application. Contrary to some early misleading speculation, there is no indication that the feed product itself was defective when it
was delivered to the farm," he said.
Dr. Adams indicated necropsies on three of the horses that died at the Texas A&M veterinary clinic all showed the presence of phosphine gas in their stomachs.
"Considering that the stable feed bin was reportedly treated with a fumigant pesticide that releases phosphine gas as its toxic principal, and considering that phosphine gas was detected in the horses' digestive tracts after death, the pesticide certainly appears to be the etiologic agent, the causative factor, responsible for this tragic situation," Adams said.
The stable involved is a Purina customer and Purina has worked closely with the customer, and involved veterinarians, to provide support and assistance.