A weed in alfalfa hay is sickening horses - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

A weed in alfalfa hay is sickening horses

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July 3, 2007

Lee County-  A warning for south Georgia horse owners, some alfalfa hay shipped to Georgia may be toxic to your animals.

Twenty five horses have been sickened so far from eating alfalfa hay from Michigan containing hoary alyssum. The weed is toxic to horses and could cause swollen legs, fever, and depression. Horse owner and feed specialist Bill Hodges says many south Georgia horse owners have supplemented their horses diets with feed like alfalfa because typical feed isn't available.

"Costal Bermuda hay is the normal source of hay around here, but there's a shortage of it, people don't understand if we don't have any rain we don't have hay. But there's alfalfa cubes which is put through a heating process and of course like anything else would have been tested," said Bill Hodges, Bennett's West.

Hodges once lost six horses in two hours because of a bug in alfalfa hay and is now extremely cautious about what he feeds his 22 horses. Horse owners who believe their animals may be affected should contact their veterinarian.

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