Murphy Farm Hay and Feed Company of Louisburg North Carolina have initiated a voluntary limited recall of alfalfa hay due to potential Blister Beetle contamination.
The product was offered for sale to consumers at the following two retail locations, Murphy Farm Hay and Feed in Louisburg, NC and Jones Farm Hay and Feed in Middlesex, NC.
Murphy Farm explains that a sample of the potentially contaminated hay tested positive for cantharidin, a poisonous substance found in blister beetles, and is suspected in the deaths of six horses. While cattle, goats and sheep may also be affected by cantharidin, horses are more susceptible to the toxin than ruminants. Horse owners should monitor their animals closely and contact their veterinarian if any of the following signs are observed; inflammation, colic, straining, elevated temperature, depression, blood in the urine, increased heart rate and respiration, dehydration, sweating and diarrhea. Death can occur between as little as a few hours and up to about 3 days after a toxic exposure so it is imperative to contact a veterinarian as soon as blister beetle poisoning is suspected. Please note that hay contaminated with the toxin may or may not contain visible beetles.
Officials from the NC Department of Agriculture have determined that a single load of alfalfa hay, originating in Kansas and delivered to Murphy Farm Hay and Feed on August 11, 2015 is most likely the source of the blister beetle contamination. Hay from the contaminated lot is best described as; Square-baled alfalfa hay, bound in reddish-orange twine and weighing approximately 70 lbs.