Uncertainty Remains Over Horse Meds

WINNSBORO – As Fairfield County works to strengthen its policies and ordinances in the wake of the death of a pair of horses shortly after their release from County custody, questions linger about the treatment the animals received while under the care of Animal Control.

After spending nearly a month in a small pen at the Fairfield County animal shelter, the 7-year-old mare and her 4-month-old colt were transported to Big Oaks Rescue Farm in Greenwood on June 16. Speaking with The Voice a week after the mare’s June 18 death, Big Oaks founder Joe Mann said the mare arrived in a state of starvation, caused largely by the fact that the mare was riddled with “the worst case of tapeworms” he had ever seen, he said.

The tapeworms, Mann said, negated any benefit the mare might have otherwise received from the County’s feeding schedule, which Mann said was also substandard (see the July 10 edition of The Voice).

“As soon as a starving horse is stable, you have to kill the tapeworms, and at that stage a vet needs to be involved,” Mann said last month. “The mare was full of some of the largest tapeworms we had ever seen. I don’t know what (Dr. Robert Chappell, the vet used by the County) de-wormed her with. “

As part of a June 26 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, The Voice asked the County for, among other things, all records associated with the rescue, surgery and feeding of the horses. Included in the County’s response, dated July 6, was a May 1 receipt for three different medications from Tractor Supply Co. on Killian Road in Columbia.

Those medications were: Ivomec Plus, Prolate Lintox QT and Wazine 17 percent – none of which are for tapeworms and none of which are for horses.

Prolate Lintox QT is for the treatment of ticks, flies and mange in cattle and swine. Wazine is a de-wormer used in chickens, turkeys and swine, but is not effective against tapeworms.

“Ivomec Plus is an injectable liquid not labeled for tapeworms and not labeled for use in horses or companion pets,” said Dr. Elizabeth Laminack, a veterinarian with Ivomec’s manufacturer, Merial Limited in Duluth, Ga.

Ivomec is labeled for use in cattle, and Laminack said the 50 ML bottle purchased by the County on May 1 would be enough to treat 10 cows weighing 550 pound each “for some kinds of worms, but not tape worms,” she said. “Ivomec Plus will not kill tape worms.”

It remains unclear then, since the purchase predates the rescue of the horses by more than two weeks, and since the County said last week that none of those medications were actually administered to the mare, why proof of their purchase was included in the County’s FOIA response.

Wormer and bacterial infection products that are kept on hand by Animal Control, the County said last week, are Albon, Panacur and Strongid.

Albon, while it may be prescribed for other species, is primarily used for dogs and cats and is an antibiotic, not a de-wormer. Panacur, for use in dogs and some zoo animals, treats roundworm, hookworm and whipworm. It is also used for the treatment of what is commonly known as “Rabbit Tapeworms,” found in rabbits, rodents and certain carnivores such as dogs. But not horses.

Strongid, which does come in a version suitable for horses, also does not treat tapeworms.

Dr. Chappell, the small animal vet called in by the County to attend to the horses, told The Voice last month that he had de-wormed the mare when the animals were removed from a Blair pasture on May 19. He did not say what specific medication he administered.

While the County referred all questions related to specific medications to Dr. Chappell, a follow-up phone call to the vet was not returned at press time.

 

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