Number of Australian Horses Dead With Unknown Cause Hits 19

Nineteen horses in the Kooralbyn area of Queensland, Australia, have now died or been euthanized as the result of an unknown ailment, according to an Oct. 9 press release from Biosecurity Queensland.

Last Thursday (Oct. 6), officials responded to calls of seven horses dead in a pasture. A veterinarian later euthanized another five, bringing the initial death toll to 12. An Oct. 7 Biosecurity Queensland press release indicated that although authorities initially suspected hendra virus as the cause of death, tests confirmed none of the deceased horses were infected by the virus.

Over the weekend, seven of the surviving horses either died or were euthanized after developing signs of illness; the clinical signs the animals exhibited were not reported.

"The six surviving horses were moved to another property on Friday evening and are under the care of a private veterinarian," the press release noted. "Biosecurity Queensland officers are on site conducting further checks of the paddock where the horses became sick. "On Friday we began the process of performing postmortems on the deceased horses," the release continued. "We expect to have the complete postmortem results sometime this week."

A report from ABC News Australia indicates the horses' owner believes the horses might have been "deliberately poisoned."

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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