Speculation on the death of the polo ponies in Wellington today has centered on the selenium content in the “supplement” given to the ponies.
The Palm Beach Post reports in the article, “High selenium in drug mix could be to blame in death of 21 polo ponies“:
Citing anonymous sources, the Argentine newspaper La Nacion reported today that the horses’ lab-made supplements included 5 milligrams per milliliter of sodium selenite instead of the prescribed 0.5 milligrams.
If this is indeed the cause, it begs the question, why would you give your horse a supplement where a mere 10x increase in the concentration of an ingredient might kill it?
Many of us (myself included) give supplements to our horses. Most of them have dubious and mostly anecdotal claims of actually improving a horse’s condition or some how enhancing its performance. Yet we feed the supplements hoping that the magic ingredient will make a difference. Many supplements and treatments are used “off label” , often at the advice of our vets. Yet the tragic deaths of these horses show that supplementation can have more serious consequences.
Certainly it’s given me pause.