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Florida agriculture scientists are performing necropsies Monday on 21 horses that died as they were prepared to compete in a Sunday polo match in Wellington, Florida.


Blue tarps obstruct the view of horses that died at the International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida.

1 of 2 "We'll be testing blood and tissue to see what the common denominator was here -- was it something injected, was it bad water and so forth," said Terrence McElroy, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.

The horses were part of the Venezuelan-based Lechuza Caracas team and were being kept at the team's trailers on the grounds of the International Polo Club. Fifteen horses, that seemed disoriented, died before Sunday's match, said McElroy, and their bodies were sent to the state-run Kissimmee Diagnostic clinic near Orlando.

Two horses initially collapsed, and as vets and team officials scrambled to revive them, five others became dizzy, Tim O'Connor, spokesman for the polo club, told CNN on Sunday. As vets and team officials scrambled to revive them by running intravenous tubes into the horses, five others became dizzy.

Some of those horses died immediately, but some lingered for about 45 minutes, Dr. Scott Swerdlin of the Palm Beach Equine Clinic said, according to a report in the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. The clinic is the International Polo's consulting veterinarian group, the newspaper said.

Six out of the 21 horses were kept overnight in the same trailer in Wellington, said McElroy, and died overnight there. Their bodies had not been taken to the Kissimmee lab.

The U.S. Polo Association, the sport's governing body, is expected to open an investigation Monday.

Celeste Kunz, chief examining veterinarian at the New York Racing Association and 19-year veterinarian said Monday that she suspected a tainted substance was injected into the horses.
 

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I read that they suspect the team vet injected them with something to enhance performance and it was either tainted or just a bad combination of drugs.

Terrible story.
 
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