Is your horse's feed safe? Is your horse feed safe from monensin toxicity?

Horse Feed Contaminated with Monensin: FDA Warning Letters

Monensin contaminated horse feed

Two feed mills reportedly contaminated horse feed with monensin which led to at least six horses’ deaths.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration issued both companies Warning Letters this month. Now, the FDA warns Gilman Co-Op Creamery of Gilman, MN and Farmers/Ranchers Cooperative Association in Ainsworth, NE that they could face legal action if they fail to correct multiple violations.

Monensin is an ionophore that improves the feed efficiency for cattle. Although, it is deadly to horses and there is no antidote.

Monensin toxicity may look like colic and symptoms can progress rapidly to death in some cases. Horses may also suffer from sweating, muscle wasting, bloating, kidney failure, damage to the heart, respiratory distress, stiffness, and the inability to stand.

The FDA states the companies failed to adhere to Current Good Manufacturing Practices for medicated feed mills. Despite requirements of sequencing or equipment cleanout when switching from a medicated feed to a non-medicated feed.

While the FDA claims these regulations are designed to prevent cross-contamination, horses across the states continue to remain vulnerable to monensin exposure due to human error, mechanical failures, and inadequate records.

In August, Horse Authority reported that six horses died after eating Gilman’s custom ‘Horse Blend 985’ feed. Additionally, a lab analysis detected 143 ppm (parts per million) of monensin in the horse feed.

Last November, Farmers/Ranchers Cooperative Association of Ainsworth recalled it’s horse feed. Nebraska Department of Agriculture tested ‘Sandhills Select Horse Feed’ Lot G00005-00 produced on October 2, 2017, which contained 4 grams per ton of monensin.


Safe horse feed?

So, how do you know which horse feed is safe for your horse? Horse Authority recommends buying horse feed from a “monensin-free” or “ionophore-free” horse feed manufacturer. 

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