Doomed horses dying from tainted feed in final days

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Doomed Horses Dying From Tainted Feed



Doomed horses accidentally fed tainted food are living out their final days in luxury.

Eighteen horses, some worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, were unintentionally poisoned when they were given feed containing an additive safe for livestock, but deadly for horses.

Back in September, the Masterpiece Equestrian Center in Davie, Florida gave 22 horses feed containing monensin, an antibiotic generally given to cattle and chickens to make them grow. However, monensin is toxic to a horse's muscles, like the heart. The horses continued to eat the tainted feed for a month before the first horse died. Another died two days later, and a third not long after.

A fourth horse was euthanized and veterinarians predict the rest will die within the week.

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Doomed horses dying from tainted feed in final days
Debra Buis, left, hugs Ava Exelbrit at the Masterpiece Equestrian Center in Davie, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Ava lost the horse she had ridden for years, and Buis has two sick horses at the center. A batch of feed tainted by additives safe for other livestock but toxic to horses arrived at the center in September, and all 22 horses there ate the feed for a month before anyone realized something was wrong. There's nothing that can be done to the horses, so their young riders are holding "spa days" to brush their manes and tails, paint their hooves, feed them hay and pet their noses to keep the animals comfortable in their last days. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
Izabella Gosttschall, right, and her sister, Sophia, talk to one of the remaining horses at the Masterpiece Equestrian Center in Davie, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Izabella recently lost her horse to a batch of feed tainted by additives safe for other livestock but toxic to horses. There's nothing that can be done to save 18 poisoned horses at the equestrian center, so their young riders are holding "spa days" to brush their manes and tails, paint their hooves, feed them hay and pet their noses to keep the animals comfortable in their last days. Four horses at Masterpiece Equestrian Center have died since October because of contaminated feed, and the owners of the rest are struggling to accept the approaching deaths of the others. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
Ava Exelbirt brushes one of the remaining horses at Masterpiece Equestrian Center in Davie, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 16 2014. There's nothing that can be done to save 18 poisoned horses at the equestrian center, so their young riders are holding "spa days" to brush their manes and tails, paint their hooves, feed them hay and pet their noses to keep the animals comfortable in their last days. Four horses at Masterpiece Equestrian Center have died since October because of contaminated feed, and the owners of the rest are struggling to accept the approaching deaths of the others. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
Ava Exelbirt walks one of the remaining sick horses at Masterpiece Equestrian Center in Davie, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 16 2014. Ava lost the horse she had ridden for years on Monday, and Buis has two sick horses at the center. A batch of feed tainted by additives safe for other livestock but toxic to horses arrived at the center in September, and all 22 horses there ate the feed for a month before anyone realized something was wrong. There's nothing that can be done to the horses, so their young riders are holding "spa days" to brush their manes and tails, paint their hooves, feed them hay and pet their noses to keep the animals comfortable in their last days. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
Ava Exelbirt hugs one of the remaining horses at the Masterpiece Equestrian Center in Davie, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Ava lost the horse she rode to poisoned feed on Monday. There's nothing that can be done to save 18 poisoned horses at a Florida equestrian center, so their young riders are holding "spa days" to brush their manes and tails, paint their hooves, feed them hay and pet their noses to keep the animals comfortable in their last days. Four horses at Masterpiece Equestrian Center have died since October because of contaminated feed, and the owners of the rest are struggling to accept the approaching deaths of the others. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
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An owner of two of the affected horses told the Daily Mail, "There's very little to do other than keep them hydrated, giving them lots of hay, giving them lots of comfort, brushing them, giving them attention and love and baths - it makes the horses happy to be attended to."

Riding lessons have been replaced with vigils over the ill horses.

Lakeland, the company that sold the tainted feed to the Masterpiece Equestrian Center, has since recalled the product and doesn't believe other stables have been affected. The Florida-based feed company is being urged to quickly compensate both owners and Masterpiece, who may seek legal action.

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