twelvetigers

stabby cat
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I got to see a case of blister beetle toxicity today! I figure that's pretty dang neat! (For me to see, but not so much for the poor horses...)

How common is this in other parts of the United States? I know it seems prevalent in the midwest/south because this is the climate that the beetles like. Also, why do people in these areas still feed their horses alfalfa, even though they (I assume) know the risks?

Just starting a thread not related to applications. Oh, and bragging a little, because I got to see something neat. :D
 

GeeQued

UC Davis 2013
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Well, in some cases the hay grown in those area's isn't designated for horses, from what I understood some animals tolerate the cantharin with no problem. I lost a horse from it (actually the whole barn got super sick but most the others pulled through) in our case when I was working at the ranch in Texas we purchased hay that was shipped in from state's that were not known to have it but the seller (or somewhere down the line) was making a quick buck off using Texas hay and selling it as hay from another state. It was truly horrible to watch our little yearling go through it only to lose her battle.

From what I recall on it as well, its usually only common in one particular season of cutting (I think the late spring cutting) since the blister bettles are really only common to the alfalfa during their breeding season. Its more commmon than what people think and they are present in more states that what people assume and sadly even just a few beetles can be deadly.
 

rileyroo

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Jun 22, 2009
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How common is this in other parts of the United States? I know it seems prevalent in the midwest/south because this is the climate that the beetles like. Also, why do people in these areas still feed their horses alfalfa, even though they (I assume) know the risks?
they are most common in arid regions of the US where grasshoppers are abundant, b/c the larval stages of these beetles develop on grasshopper egg pods in soil.
 
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eventualeventer

Medical Tire Fire
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Oh wow, I've never seen that here (mid-Atlantic).

For regional ailments, though, I'll see you blister beetle poisoning and raise you two honest-to-goodness botulism cases in March (one made it, one didn't). :p (Do you have C. botulinum in the soil out there?)
 

GeeQued

UC Davis 2013
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Oh wow, I've never seen that here (mid-Atlantic).

For regional ailments, though, I'll see you blister beetle poisoning and raise you two honest-to-goodness botulism cases in March (one made it, one didn't). :p (Do you have C. botulinum in the soil out there?)

I know theres been horses from Florida all the way to California that have had blister beetle poisoning, granted I don't know for a fact where their hay came from.

Makes me glad that I go through all my hay and bag it myself when I feed so if there is anything in there I'd see it
 
Jun 22, 2009
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How common is this in other parts of the United States? I know it seems prevalent in the midwest/south because this is the climate that the beetles like. Also, why do people in these areas still feed their horses alfalfa, even though they (I assume) know the risks?
I rode and owned horses in Omaha, NE for 14 years, and never saw a case of blister beetle. I was in Austin for a year and didn't hear of a case there, either.

Alfalfa is very high in calories compared to other grass hays, like Timothy or brome. For horses that are in a lot of work, you can feed more alfalfa and reduce the amount of grain you have to give, thereby reducing the chances of colic. Horses need a lot more brome to get the calories of alfalfa, which actually makes it a good hay for the "easy keepers". ;) Most horses love alfalfa, too--so much so that when given something else, they'll turn their noses up at it unless they're really, really hungry. :D
 
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twelvetigers

twelvetigers

stabby cat
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Oh yeah, horses LOVE the stuff. But, the pasture is so nice here in oklahoma, there's really not a need for it... and personally, I don't see why it would ever be worth the risk.

First-cut hay shouldn't ever have beetles, but you're taking the seller's word that it is indeed first cut hay...

And these people knew it wasn't first cut hay... and we found several very easily. Sometimes the beetles are in a group as the cut is done, so they end up mostly in one bale... this was not the case, though. We found them in at least two different bales, and in fairly high numbers.

I'm not sure about botulism. I'd have to ask!