The Blister Beetle is a beetle that travels in large groups. They commonly feed on the purple flowers seen on alfalfa plants. When these beetles are present in a field, they can be killed in the baling process, and baled into the hay. If a horses ingests just a few of these beetles, the effects can be fatal for the horse.
If you suspect your horse's hay has been contaminated by Blister Beetles (Or that your horse has otherwise come into contact with these pests), it is important to contact a licensed veterinarian immediately!
Signs and Symptoms of Blister Beetle Toxicity may include:
- Lack of interest in food
- Kidney damage
- Blisters in the mouth
There is no antidote to Blister Beetle toxicity, although supportive care can be helpful. IV fluids to rehydrate and flush the renal system, activated charcoal, and sometimes antibiotics to prevent secondary infection may all be helpful. Even if you realize promptly that your horse has ingested Blister Beetles, the prognosis usually isn't great.