Home > Mass Animal Deaths > Australia: Sixteen Horses Die at Kooralbyn Property and Authorities Don’t Know Why

Australia: Sixteen Horses Die at Kooralbyn Property and Authorities Don’t Know Why


“A mystery illness has killed 16 quarter horses on a property west of the Gold Coast, and vets and Biosecurity Queensland are trying to pinpoint why so many healthy animals died so quickly.

With Hendra virus ruled out as the cause on Friday, scientists and local vets are leaning towards the possibility the animals may have fallen victim to some type of toxic weed.

Devastated owner Steve Hogno says his horses started dropping dead on Thursday.

Mr Hogno, who was working at a mine site in Western Australia, returned to his home at Kooralbyn near Beaudesert on Friday morning.

‘They appear to have died quickly. They just dropped, and that was that,’ he told AAP.

‘The Hendra tests have come back clear. That still leaves it a mystery as to what caused the problem, but at least it does put the local community’s mind to rest a little bit, knowing there’s not Hendra in the area.’

Autopsies have been performed on some of the dead quarter horses, but Dr David Ahern from Scenic Rim Veterinary Service says results won’t be known until Monday or Tuesday.

‘Samples of brain, lungs, spleen and other organs have been taken, and they have to be fixed in formalin for a few days before thin slices can be taken and examined under a microscope to see if an infectious disease or a toxin has killed the horses,’ he said.

Queensland’s chief vet Rick Symons said there was no sign of foul play and the RSPCA has ruled out neglect.

Locals noticed five dead and three sick fillies and mares, which were infested with ticks, in a paddock near Kooralbyn on Thursday.

The three sick horses were euthanased, but the death toll increased to 12 on Friday morning. By late afternoon four more had been put down, lifting the death toll to 16 with only nine surviving.” Read more.

Categories: Mass Animal Deaths
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