Horses in Wichita County experience liver failure

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Tests are still being done to find out the exact cause of all this, but about nine horses have died with liver disorders.

“It really just started when we found a perfectly healthy horse dead, she was fine the day before and we come out to feed in the morning and she was dead in the stall,” horse owner Jessica Geer said.

There have been about a dozen cases of horses with liver failure in Wichita County recently and in at least one instance they may know the cause.

“We found kleingrass in the bale of hay we were feeding after we had lost one and had two more in liver failure,” said Geer.

Kleingrass can be deadly to horses, while having no effect on cattle and other animals. Whether all the cases are because of poisoning from kleingrass in the hay will have to wait on test results.

“We are working dilligently with the veteranarians in Weatherford as well as other sources to definitivley diagnose what is causing the issue, we do not yet know the cause there are some related circumstances amongst some of the cases but not all of them,” Dr. Jered Harlan said.

There are signs you can look for in the meantime.

“If you pull their eyelid back or pick up their lip and if the skin or tissue that would normally be white is starting to turn yellow if thats the case, the easiest way to diagnose it is just routine bloodwork here at the clinic, we can run that and it takes about 10 minutes and evaluate if their having liver issue,” Harlan said.

But for some, the damage has already been done.

“It got expensive really really quick, we’re going to make sure we’re not feeding any of that hay and keeping an eye on the rest of our horses and keep nursing this little one. Because long term we don’t know exactly what the outcome is cause we could come out at any time and find her gone too,” Geer said.

Although the exact cause is still up in the air, Geer wants to alert others of what may have caused her to already lose at least one horse.

Dr. Harlan did stress that it can’t be confirmed yet that kleingrass is the reason for the liver damages.

We will make sure to keep you updated as more testing and information become available.

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