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Sick, dead cattle in Tampa Bay area may be linked to toxic feed

Polk County

More than a dozen cattle deaths in Polk County may be linked to toxic feed.

The feed is now under a recall, and officials are working to determine if there is a connection.

A Polk County man believes his cow died after eating Purina Producer’s Pride Cattle Cubes that he bought from a local Tractor Supply store.

Gary York said several of his cattle became sick within hours of eating the feed. 

“They were having trouble standing up, it was like they were intoxicated,” Gary York told 8 On Your Side. 

York called his veterinarian, who lives nearby. 

“They were really unsteady on their feet, and then they just started displaying signs of seizures and muscle tremors,” said Dr. LuJean Waters, a Veterinarian with Heartland Large Animal Services in Bartow.

Within a few hours, one of York’s cattle, a mother who had just given birth days before, was dead.

The other cattle pulled through and were back to normal within days. 

For York and his wife, it was devastating. The couple raises the cattle as a hobby in their retirement.

“Every animal on this farm is like a pet,” York said. “They will come right up to the fence and let you pet them like a dog.”

Dr. Waters has since recieved calls from two other clients with sick or dead cattle.

Dozens more cases have been reported across the state.

“There’s about 10 counties affected, but it was all from the same lot number of feed, that was bagged on a certain day,” Dr. Waters said.

York said officials from Purina inspected his farm this week.

“They took pictures of everything. They asked me a lot of questions,” he said.

The feed in question was manufactured for Tractor Supply Company (TSC) by a feed mill located in Mulberry, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division.

According to Jim Handley, Executive Vice President of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, tissue samples from some of the cattle is being tested to determine the cause of death.

Feed is also being tested for anything that may have led to cause death of cattle that consumed it.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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