Was it ticks or botulism?? Vets don't know

Discussion in 'News Items' started by Firedance, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. Firedance

    Firedance Well-known Member

    Ticks, botulism blamed for deaths of 22 horses

    November 3, 2011

    Scrub tick infestation or botulism most likely caused the deaths of 22 horses at Kooralbyn, in Queensland, authorities say.

    Chief Biosecurity Officer Jim Thompson said both conditions caused progressive muscular paralysis, as was seen with these horses, and it was often hard to differentiate between the two.

    "Botulism is a bacteria that lives in soil and produces a toxin that affects the nervous system if ingested," he said.

    "The other likely scenario is scrub tick poisoning.

    "Witnesses have reported that the horses first noticed to be in distress on Thursday, October 6, had been carrying large numbers of ticks.

    "Fatal infestations of scrub tick on adult horses have been recorded in the past.

    "This has been an unusual and complex case. Biosecurity Queensland worked closely with the attending private veterinarian and Queensland Health to test a range of samples from the horses and the paddock where they were kept.

    "Despite carrying out such a thorough investigation, we know from experience that test results don't always pinpoint an exact cause of death.

    "However based on the circumstances, Biosecurity Queensland believes scrub ticks or botulism were most likely responsible in this case."

    The department said its conclusions were reached after three weeks of comprehensive laboratory testing.

    It said test results excluded Hendra virus, pesticides, heavy metals (arsenic, lead, cyanide, nitrate), toxic plants, water contamination and deliberate poisoning.
  2. Ponies4Me

    Ponies4Me Well-known Member

    The owner tis not at all happy with this finding either.

    Reports saying that he had hair testing done over in the States that came back showing some of the highest heavy metal levels that they had ever seen. Bugger that I can't find the link now. Would have thought that such things would have shown up on the blood tests being done here?

    Wonder how the surviving horses are doing now?
  3. Firedance

    Firedance Well-known Member

    Found this

    Heavy metals link to horse deaths: owner

    November 3, 2011 - 12:00AM .

    The owner of 22 horses that died suddenly on a south-east Queensland property has questioned a finding by Biosecurity Queensland that scrub ticks or botulism probably caused the deaths.

    Steve Hogno said tests of horse-hair samples sent to a US laboratory had turned up high levels of heavy metals including manganese and zinc, among others.

    "They're saying they've got some of the highest levels of heavy metals they've even seen," Mr Hogno said.

    "Now we've got to try and find out where they've come from."

    The US laboratory indicated that ingestion of a toxic weed or outside intervention could have caused the high metal levels, Mr Hogno said, adding that he did not know why Biosecurity Queensland had reached such a drastically different conclusion.

    "The chief pathologist with Biosecurity Queensland is saying what world-class facilities they have, but it seems they've drawn a blank and said 'ticks will do'," Mr Hogno said.

    Twenty-two quarter horses from a herd of 25 died within five days of each other at a property west of the Gold Coast last month, baffling vets and Mr Hogno.

    Biosecurity Queensland said yesterday that scrub ticks or botulism were probably behind the deaths, adding that three weeks of lab tests on the animals ruled out such possible causes as Hendra virus, toxic plants, water contamination and deliberate poisoning.

    Chief biosecurity officer Jim Thompson said both ticks and botulism could have caused the progressive muscular paralysis seen in the horses, and it was often hard to differentiate between the two.

    Botulism is a bacterium that lives in soil and produces a toxin that affects the nervous system if ingested.

    Mr Thompson said scrub tick infestations represented the other likely scenario and fatal infestations of scrub tick on adult horses had been recorded.

    "Witnesses have reported that the horses, first noticed to be in distress on Thursday, October 6, had been carrying large numbers of ticks," he said.

    However, he warned that test results did not always reveal the exact cause of death.

    The Biosecurity Queensland tests also ruled out contamination from pesticides and heavy metals, Mr Thompson said.

    The first horses began dropping dead in a paddock at Kooralbyn, 90 kilometres west of the Gold Coast, on October 6. Within five days, just three horses from the herd of 25 had survived.

    Speculation followed that noxious weeds, contaminated water and even deliberate poisoning were behind the deaths.
  4. feather feet

    feather feet Well-known Member

    How's QLD bio form feeding us that rubbish they must think were all thick,because there is no way in hell scrub ticks can kill 22 horses in 10 days fir Christ sake,the truth is they have no clue what happened and just fed us all that tripe to make them sound good,at least the owner had the smarts to look to the US were real results will be found,and looks like it has,I still believe it was deliberate
  5. citygirl

    citygirl Gold Member

    wonders if we'll ever have the truth :(


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