A group of Thoroughbred racehorse owners recently brought a suit against Wedgewood Village Pharmacy Inc., of Swedesboro, N.J., seeking compensation for the alleged wrongful deaths of three racehorses and for severe damage to a fourth. Wedgewood specializes in drug compounding from bulk substances for human and animal patients.
The suit was filed Sept. 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York on behalf of Richlyn Farm, Grapestock LLC, John Peace, Catherine and Donald Flanagan, and Rabbits Foot Stable Inc. The owners seek a combined minimum of $375,000 in losses.
According to the suit, the three horses were euthanatized and the fourth was severely injured because Wedgewood's antimicrobial chloramphenicol palmitate product was "improperly designed, manufactured, compounded, formulated, mixed and/or labeled." The product was meant to treat horses suffering from infections.
In June, Wedgewood's product was administered to three racehorses that had arytenoiditis. The horses were housed in the same barn in Saratoga County, New York. According to the suit, the horses began to suffer from loss of appetite, intestinal distention, depression, and high heart rates, and showed signs of colic soon after being administered the product. The horses were hospitalized and later, colitis and eventually, laminitis were diagnosed. By July 29, two of the horses were euthanatized while the third survived but suffered serious physical injury.
Also in June, a fourth racehorse in Elmont, N.Y., was administered the product to treat a laceration over one of its hocks. After being administered the product, the horse developed laminitis and, once its condition deteriorated, was euthanatized about July 11.
The suit is one of at least two cases involving Wedgewood in the past four months. In September, the pharmacy was involved in a case with the Food and Drug Administration (see JAVMA, Nov. 15, 2005, page 1546). In that case, Wedgewood sought to annul the FDA's warrant to inspect the pharmacy. Wedgewood's request was denied.