Australian authorities are investigating the isolated deaths of 40 horses in Queensland from liver damage.

Biosecurity Queensland is looking at reports that horses from five properties have either died or been left with permanent liver scarring.

Vet Rick Whittle said the cause is as yet unknown, but confirmed the investigation is focusing on a toxic group of tropical plants called Crotalaria.

Mr Whittle said: “The difficulty is looking at what’s happened when the horse hasn’t become ill until some months after the plant has gone.”

This article was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound, 25 November ’10