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Wickliffe Veterinary Pharmacy being investigated after two horses died

A Lexington, KY pharmaceutical company has been placed under further investigation by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) due to the reported sickening of eight horses, two of which have died. A Lex 18 story on May 12 reports that the two Florida horses did not survive and that six others became nearly crippled and very sick.

Syringe is being filled. Horse is about to be injected.
Syringe is being filled. Horse is about to be injected.citizenhorse.com

According to lex.com, a week ago the horses were administered with a dose of compounded EPM drugs from Wickliffe Veterinary Pharmacy to treat a neurological parasite called Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM).

Authorities are attempting to find out how this happened and, if deemed necessary, how to inform others if necessary.

Dr. Scott Stanley was notified by experts about this occurrence to the Florida horses due to his expertise and because he operates the Equine Drug Testing Laboratory at the University California Davis.

Dr. Stanley surmises that it is possible the drugs were not formulated correctly or properly. Likewise, it is also possible that the drugs were compounded perfectly but were not correctly administered to the horses. The FDA is still working on this determination.

He relates that “nine batches of combined Toltrazuril and Pyrimethamine were made by Wickliffe. Three of the nine were given to the horses by the same person right before they all got sick.”

The primary focus of the investigation is on the compounded, unregulated medicine which is not FDA-approved.

Dr. Stanley said,

They don't have the same quality control testing and they are not produced in large batches. While many compounded drugs are safe, people need to pay attention to what their veterinarian and pharmacists are making.

Other horse owners may be administering this combination of meds and it is reasonable to expect them to be concerned. Dr. Stanley advises in these cases, "I think that it would be wise that if they got that particular drug that they contact their vet."

Wickliffe Veterinary Pharmacy has stated they are committed to the health and safety of their patients. In a statement, Wickliffe said,

There is no known correlation between Wickliffe's compound and the reported adverse events. Wickliffe is working cooperatively with health authorities to determine the cause of the adverse events as quickly as possible. Wickliffe has no indication that the preparation compounded at its pharmacy was unsafe in any way, or prepared other than as prescribed.

Dr. Stanley advises horse owners to use caution when using all compounded drugs.

The news about the six remaining sick horses is good – they have survived and continue to improve.

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