BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – At least 20 horses in Louisiana died as part of an outbreak of equine botulism linked to alfalfa hay cubes. The outbreak has also killed at least 28 horses in New Mexico, Texas and Colorado and caused many other animals to get sick.

According to a news release from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry, Manzanola Feeds has recalled Top of the Rockies alfalfa cubes as a result of an FDA investigation.

Horses in Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas reportedly showed neurological symptoms in line with botulism.

LDAF also investigated the issue, and investigators learned that the product was possibly adulterated with animal remains. They confirmed it by testing an unopened bag of the feed. According to the LDAF release, that finding indicated that part of an animal or animals might have been included during the harvesting of the alfalfa. The bacteria that causes botulism can be found in decaying carcasses.

What if my animal ate this?

LDAF advises you to call a vet immediately if the animal shows signs of:

  • muscle tremors
  • difficulty eating or swallowing
  • difficulty standing
  • collapse
  • other signs of neurological illness

What if I have affected cubes?

Cube with date codes 111222, 111322, 111422, 111522 and 111622 should be thrown away in a secure container. If someone is not sure of the date code of the product, they are also advised to dispose of it rather than feed it to an animal.

How can I report this?

If reporting illness to the FDA, Louisiana residents can use the Safety Reporting Portal or call 866-289-3399. Including the brand name and lot numbers of what the horse ate is appreciated.

To report feeding this product to animals who suddenly became sick with neurological symptoms or unexpectedly died, call the LDAF hotline at 1-855-452-5323.