Merial denies involvement of Biodyl in Lechuza polo pony deaths

  • The manufacturer of a drug implicated in the deaths of 21 polo ponies in Palm Beach, Florida has denied any link to the incident.

    Manufactured by Merial, Biodyl is designed to aid muscle disorders and travel sickness in the horse, as well as to add condition to jumpers and racehorses. It has been named by media worldwide — including H&H — after the pony deaths.

    Results of autopsies have shown bleeding in the ponies’ lungs, and are consistent to an overdose of selenium — one of the components of Biodyl.

    A “compounding pharmacy” in Florida last week claimed responsibility for providing the Lechuza Caracas team vet with a “flawed batch” of medication which caused the deaths of 21 polo ponies.

    But this afternoon, Merial spokesman Steve Dickinson said: “Early media reports speculated as to whether Merial’s product Biodyl may have been among the pharmaceutical preparations used with the horses. This was not the case.”

    Mr Dickinson said Biodyl is not approved for use in the United States, and was not given to the Palm Beach horses.

    “Rather, the veterinary pharmacy reportedly attempted to compound a substance meant to recreate genuine Biodyl,” he said.

    The Merial spokesman said the company has not been contacted by any officials involved in the investigation.

    Biodyl is also not sold in the UK, but Mr Dickinson added that it has been approved for sale in many other countries of the world and that: “it has been used safely for decades”.

    “We are confident that Merial’s Biodyl is safe when used as directed,” he said.

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