Tainted hay suspected in horses' sun sensitivity

(Nevada Highway Patrol)
(Nevada Highway Patrol)
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Updated: 8/13/2014 1:06 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — State officials say tainted hay is suspected of causing sun sensitivity that is leading to skin infections in horses across Southern California.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported Tuesday that at least two dozen cases of severe sun sensitivity have been reported by vets and horse owners in recent weeks. As many as seven cases are in Norco.

The Department of Food and Agriculture says the source appears to be tainted alfalfa hay from several distributors.

The newspaper says toxicologists have not definitively identified the exact substance, but officials believe it may be naturally occurring.

Affected horses experience infections called photodermatitis, which leads to hair loss and painful lesions.

Treatment includes getting horses under shelter or shade, and sometimes only turning them out at night. Horses with open wounds are given antibiotics.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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