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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: LIVESTOCK LOSSES FROM ABORTIFACIENT AND TERATOGENIC PLANTS Title: Plants Poisonous to Your Horse - Part I

Author
item Stegelmeier, Bryan

Submitted to: Extension Publications
Publication Type: Experiment Station
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 2009
Publication Date: July 1, 2009
Citation: Stegelmeier, B.L. 2009. Plants Poisonous to Your Horse - Part I. Extension Publications.

Interpretive Summary: Horses are relatively selective grazers and generally are poisoned by toxic plants less frequently than other livestock, but there are exceptions. Some poisonous plants are palatable to horses and exposed horses readily eat them. However, most problems are due to contaminated feed as most horses readily accept toxic plants included in hay or processed feed. Because antidotes are rare, plant-induced diseases in horses are generally irreversible and sometimes lethal. Knowledge of which plants are toxic and when horses are likely to be poisoned will help reduce losses and ensure animal health and safety. The following series is an introduction to toxic plants of concern for horses. It includes when horses are likely to be poisoned, the characteristic clinical and pathologic changes of poisoning and potential treatments or antidotes

Technical Abstract: Horses are relatively selective grazers and generally are poisoned less frequently than other livestock. However there are exceptions. Some poisonous plants are palatable to horses and exposed horses readily eat them. Most equine poisonings occur as result to toxic plants contaminating feeds. Most horses readily ingest toxic plants that are included in hay or processed feed. This acceptance and social competitions for feed contribute to most clinical poisonings. As plant induced toxicity in horses can result in irreversible disease and antidotes are rare, plant-induced diseases are often devastating for both work and companions animals. Knowledge of which plants are toxic and when horses are likely to be poisoned will help reduce losses and ensure animal health and safety. In this series differ toxic plants that are likely to damage horses are discussed. The series are divided by body system affected with emphasis on neurotoxic and hepatotoxic plants that are potential problems in the western United States.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014