Equine Law: Everything You Need to Know

Equine Law

We often receive questions about what equine law is and how it works. To help you better understand, we’ve compiled a list of the most common inquiries, as well as how we can assist with your horse-related legal needs.

What is equine law?

Equine law is the legal practice of all things horse-related. It could be anything involving horse businesses, organizations and facilities. Whether you fall down from a horse, experience negligence with a horse boarder or buy a faulty horse-related product, it is considered equine law.

In what way are the attorneys of Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen equine law specialists?

Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen typically focuses on equine cases related to horse deaths resulting from tainted feed.

How can my horse die from its feed?

Manufacturers that produce both horse feed and other types of bulk feeds, such as cattle feed or poultry feed, can accidentally cross-contaminate the feeds. This means your horse feed can potentially contain chemicals from other feeds that are poisonous—and even deadly—to your equines. For example, a common additive in poultry or cattle feeds, called monensin, is highly toxic to horses.

What is monensin?

In technical terms, monensin is a type of ionophore. Ionophores are feed additives used in cattle diets to increase feed efficiency and body weight gain. They are compounds that alter rumen fermentation patterns. Ionophores can be fed to any class of cattle and can be used in any segment of the beef cattle industry.

Therefore, as monensin is an antibiotic used for growth found in bulk feeds, it is not meant for horses. It is toxic to other animals, too, including sheep.

How do I make sure that my horse feed isn’t tainted?

There’s really no sure way of knowing your horse feed is tainted by monensin, but we do recommend buying from a horse feed company that doesn’t manufacture its horse feeds with other types, especially cattle and poultry feeds.

What are common symptoms often associated with monsensin poisoning?

The symptoms of monensin toxicity may be mild or severe, depending on the amount consumed and length of time over which it was eaten. Some of the most often reported signs of monensin toxicity in horses include colic, walking abnormally, excessive sweating, exercise intolerance, weakness, appetite loss, rapid breathing and heart rate, depression, diarrhea, inability to get up, kidney failure (dark urine, fluid retention), muscle wasting, heart failure and, many times, death.

If your horse is experiencing any of the symptoms above, please seek medical help immediately.

What are the types of monensin poisoning?

There are two types of monensin poisoning: acute and chronic. Acute monensin toxicity occurs when your horse eats a large amount of monensin in a short period of time, usually resulting in death, while chronic monensin toxicity is from eating small to moderate amounts of monensin for a long period of time (more than one month).

What is the recovery time if my horse was affected by monensin? 

Consult your veterinarian on this issue. All horses that have consumed feed tainted with monensin are at risk for sudden death and therefore not safe to be ridden.

What do you advise if my horse has been affected by tainted feed?

Immediately call your veterinarian if you suspect any type of monensin poisoning. If a medical specialist believes that monensin in feed was the cause of an illness or death, you may be able to take legal action against the manufacturer of the feed.

Call the equine lawyers of Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen for a free case review. We know horse owners and boarders care deeply for their equines, and we believe these companies need to be held accountable for selling faulty feed.

What are the past equine-related cases that Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen has litigated? 

From Florida to New York to California, our equine lawyers have helped many horse owners and boarders from across the nation seek justice for this type of negligence. Time and time again, we have seen entire stables of horses that have been dealt a death sentence because of tainted feed.

You can read about a recent California case in this article by the Clovis Independent.

To request a free and confidential evaluation of your equine case, fill out our online form or call Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen at (888) 296-1681.