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Multiple horse deaths at livery yard linked to unknown toxin

An equine hospital has confirmed a “significant” number of horse deaths at a livery yard is an isolated incident, caused by a suspected contaminated food source.

A number of horses at Clough House livery yard in Ripponden, West Yorkshire, became ill last week and have since been put down.

In a statement yesterday (20 October) Hird and Partners Shelf Equine Hospital said the hospital had been involved in treating horses from Clough House since 13 October, since then a “significant” number of horses had been lost.

“Early indications are that this is a poisoning due to an unidentified toxin. There is no indication of infectious disease,” the statement reads.

“The problem is an isolated incident on one yard. The source of the toxin is believed to be a contaminated food source that has now been removed and does not pose a risk to other animals or people.

“This has been a very distressing time for the horse owners and the equine hospital staff involved and we very much appreciate all the support we have received from the wider veterinary community around the world.”

The statement said the hospital will not be commenting further at this stage and is focusing all its efforts on providing intensive care for the remaining horses admitted to the hospital.

A Clough House livery told H&H she lost her mare in the early hours of Sunday morning (18 October).

“It’s very raw. She was my horse of a lifetime,” she said.

“We’re not pointing the finger, it’s a tragic accident. The vets have been absolutely brilliant, I cannot fault them. They have done their utmost to try to fight it.”

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Clough House yard manager Corey Taylor told H&H the yard had been working closely with Hird & Partners and further tests are being carried out.

“I can’t stress enough how amazing our vets have been and how brilliant our clients have been,” he said.

“We are absolutely devastated for everybody involved, our hearts go out to the team at Shelf and to our clients who have lost their beloved horses very tragically.”

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