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Assisi Animal Health Profiles Cantharidin Toxicity in Horses.

PINEHURST, N.C., Dec. 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Assisi Animal Health, developers of the Assisi Loop[sup.TM], a non-pharmaceutical and non-invasive healing and pain management device for animals, offers information to horse owners about a potentially fatal condition caused by a poisonous chemical compound called cantharidin. Cantharidin is found in blister beetles, which feed on alfalfa and other crops that are in horse food.

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Throughout the Southern and Midwest regions of America, horses may ingest blister beetles. As few as five or ten beetles can cause death to a horse. During the harvesting process, beetles may end up squashed in the feed, contaminating it with their fluids and body parts. The toxin affects most bodily systems, including the digestive tract. Symptoms include blisters and severe abdominal pain, which may result in a strange gait similar to Wobblers.

Colic and diarrhea are common, but cantharidin may also affect the heart and kidneys. Symptoms include urinary tract damage, anorexia, arrhythmia, hypocalcemia and strange behavior such as seeking pain relief by playing in water. Unfortunately, cantharidin in a horse's system does not become less toxic over time, and cured hay does not stop the poison's effect.

While diagnosing the condition, an equine veterinarian may send a urine sample to a lab to test for toxins. Additionally, vets can detect the poison by examining the horse's stomach contents. The fastest way to identify the problem is to find blister beetles directly within the feed.

Early diagnosis is essential for effective treatment, which involves the use of IV fluids to flush the kidneys, provide electrolytes and prevent dehydration. The toxin will need neutralizing, usually by administering activated charcoal and mineral oil.

Due to the extremely poisonous nature of blister beetles, prevention is the safest way to avoid the condition. These insects feed on alfalfa while congregating during the mating season, usually middle to late summer. Close inspection of feed during these times is crucial, along with a solid knowledge of where the hay originates.

Assisi Animal Health's clinical solutions complete the Circle of Care[sup.TM] - the collaboration of veterinarians and owners in animal health and healing. Our company helps veterinary professionals and owners improve the quality of life for companion animals using the Assisi Loop, the non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical healing device that is based on the same FDA-cleared technology used on humans. The device uses low-level pulses of electromagnetic energy to reduce pain and swelling, and to enhance recovery.

The Assisi Loop. Proven Science. Positive Results.[sup.TM]

For more information, visit the Assisi Animal Health website:

Media Contact: Kaysie Dannemiller, Assisi Animal Health, 1-866-830-7342,

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Date:Dec 31, 2014
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