Horse Owner Dissatisfied with Foal Autopsy Policy Skip to content

Horse Owner Dissatisfied with Foal Autopsy Policy

Horse breeder Ríkhardur Flemming Jensen recently lost two of his three foals to the horse flu, he believes. He is dissatisfied with Keldur, the University of Iceland Institute for Experimental Pathology, rejecting his request that the second foal be autopsied to determine its cause of death.

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From a horse roundup in Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

Jensen pointed out to Fréttabladid that on the website of the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority it says that Keldur will undertake free autopsies of horses whose deaths are believed to be in connection with the disease.

“I could have the foal autopsied but it was going to cost me almost forty thousand krónur [USD 355, EUR 257],” Jensen said. “I would have thought that since they’re investigating the cough they need all the information about it that they can get.”

“They say they have a clear picture of the situation after autopsying seventeen foals. I think it is far too small a sample from the entire country given the situation,” he added.

Jensen said the illness appeared in the first foal at the end of August. “I took it and its mother to the stable where a veterinarian treated the foal for three weeks. We tried everything, gave it all possible antibiotics and I also had a good friend of mine, a specialist in throat, nose and ear medicine, assist us.”

But the little mare didn’t survive—blood poisoning followed the horse flu. After the autopsy at Keldur it was concluded that the foal died from blood poisoning but not the horse flu and now they won’t have Jensen’s other dead foal autopsied.

“Professionals tell me that the blood poisoning was an infection which occurred after the foal’s immune system was weakened because of the cough. I ask myself whether statements issued by the Food and Veterinary Authority on a low death rate among foals because of the horse flu are obtained the same way,” Jensen concluded.

Click here to read other horse flu-related stories.

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