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Hay tainted by toxic beetles kills 14 horses in Wisconsin

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MAUSTON, Wis. — 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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