The bark is smooth and pale gray on young trees, and becomes dark and broken on older trees.Range: The native range is eastern North America, from Canada to Florida and west to Minnesota and eastern Texas, but ornamental specimens have been planted all over the country.The danger: Ingestion of fresh, growing red maple leaves seems to do little or no harm, but when the leaves wilt they become extremely toxic to horses. Thistles can be a sign that your soil is getting too acidic - putting some lime on will help to reduce thistle population. Don’t let this seed and spread, zap it now with roundup while it is flowering. Small amounts can produce symptoms in horses of cyanise poisoning including muscle tremors, frequent urination and defecation, gasping, staggering and convulsions. Berries are bright red or yellow, soft and juicy with a hole in the end, where the dark seed is visible.Range: Western yew and American yew are native to the West Coast and to the Eastern and central United States, respectively, but these two species along with the Japanese and English yews are commonly planted as ornamentals nationwide.The danger: All parts of the yew plant, except for the fleshy portion of the berries, contain taxine, an alkaloid that causes respiratory and cardiac collapse. EQUUS thanks Anthony Knight, BVSc, MRCVS, and Jill Richardson, DVM, for their assistance in the preparation of this article. To date, I have never known of horses developing ‘Paspalum staggers’, likely because when Paspalum matures it becomes less palatable so hopefully they don’t consume enough and will go for other options. Because cattle are more likely to pull up and consume the root, that species is considered most at risk of poisoning, but horses have also been known to browse the plant; less than a pound of the leaves and stems can be fatal. Horses find the purple flowers of this thistle (and milk thistle) very yummy; they go for them at every opportunity. Affected animals exhibit muscle tremours, move with s atsiff gait and arched back. If you let them drop their seeds you will have a paddock full of them next year and this is NOT such a good thing! Don't miss out! Information about your device and internet connection, including your IP address, Browsing and search activity while using Verizon Media websites and apps. This is a classic example illustrating that horses don’t ‘know’ that a plant is ‘bad’ for them. However if you see thistles popping up in your paddock scoop some salt on top of them and they will shrivel up in no time. We all would rather do without thistle but in actual fact most thistle species found in NZ are harmless and in fact, some horses love picking off the flower heads to devour the kernal. Death results from respiratory failure.What to do: There is no treatment, but if smaller doses were consumed, animals may recover with supportive care. They can also lose significant amounts of weight, even though they may be eating well. Leaves are elongated and toothed, and the small white flowers form flat, umbrella-shaped clusters at the ends of branches.Range: Water hemlock grows throughout the contiguous United States and is most likely to be found in marshy areas of meadows and along streams and irrigation ditches.The danger: Water hemlock is considered one of the most toxic plants in the United States. As disquieting as it may be to contemplate, the chances are pretty good that at least some are toxic to horses. These weeds with their large succulent leaves are very palatable so horses love them. Sometimes it’s not long and it has become the predominant plant in the pasture. Read Sabrina’s Story, Lucerne has a high phyto-estrogen content. Both species can also accumulate toxic levels of nitrates if overfertilized. I cannot emphasize this enough. Capeweed has also been indicated in cases of stringhalt. We and our partners will store and/or access information on your device through the use of cookies and similar technologies, to display personalised ads and content, for ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. As little as a pound or two of leaves can be fatal.Signs: Depending on how many leaves were eaten, signs can appear within a few hours or as long as four or five days after consumption. None of them are suitable for horses! The estimated nitrate lethal dose is 61 grams to 152 grams per animal. Most animals will avoid the plant.Signs: The toxins affect neurons primarily within the brain, causing various signs, including excessive salivation, dilated pupils and nervousness, progressing rapidly to difficult breathing, degeneration of the heart and skeletal muscles, seizures and convulsions; death usually results from respiratory paralysis. Consequently it is not on the list of good grasses for horses! The good news, of course, is that the vast majority of those plants pose little threat to horses. The toxic effect builds up over time, causing irreparable damage. Regrowth after grazing or mowing also shows a considerable increase in alkaloids. Although some species are non poisonous, it is best to remove any lupin from the horses grazing as they are not easy to tell apart. Yellow star thistle/Russian knapweed (Centauria spp.). The toxins in wilted red maple leaves cause the red blood cells to break down so that the blood can no longer carry oxygen; the kidneys, liver and other organs may also be damaged. It is OK for horses to eat all parts of the thistles. The leaves remain toxic even after dried. They consume them because they like the taste. A third problem, often confounded by the first two, arises from alkaloids produced not by the lupine itself, but by a fungus that grows on lupine pods and stems. The real danger is if it is in hay. Driving around you will see lots of paddocks that look like a sea of yellow flowers. This will usually sterilize the seeds and prevent the seed heads from becoming sharp/brittle. It is also grown as a potted plant in northern areas.The danger: All parts of the plant contain the toxins oleandrin and neriin, which disrupt the beating of the heart. Yet another issue is the fact that lucerne, like clover, is high in photodynamic (fluorescing) pigments which are the real cause of sun-burn and mud-fever. While all thistle seeds will yield oil It is the seeds of the Milk Thistle that are good for the liver. This means that your horse will get just as ill from eating small amounts of ragwort over a long period of time as it would do from eating a large quantity in one go. Signs include colic, difficulty breathing, tremors, recumbency and an irregular heart rate. Expensive lesson! Cat's Ear is very palatable to horses and is a major cause of stringhalt. All material on this website © Jenny Paterson B.Sc and cannot be used without prior consent. Often found on the edges of ditches and lakes. Avoidance is critical; most yew poisonings occur when trimmings are thrown into a pasture after a pruning. So the grass itself is not toxic, but the seed-heads are a problem when parasitized by the ergot fungus which can produce toxic ‘pyridine alkaloids’ (nasty chemicals) in the little ‘mouse-droppings’ that appear in late summer or autumn. In a drought ‘flat-weeds’ like Cape Weed and Cat’s Ear proliferate. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Your Privacy Controls. However, bracken fern is unique among the toxic plants in that some horses seem to develop a taste for it and will seek it out even when other forages are available.Signs: Signs are related to neural dysfunctions resulting from vitamin B1 deficiency and can include depression, incoordination and blindness.What to do: Large doses of thiamin over the course of a week or two can aid in the recovery of horses whose bracken consumption is discovered before the neurological signs are severe. Because horses do not metabolize the cyanide compound as efficiently as ruminant animals do, grazing healthy adult plants is unlikely to harm them, but circumstances that injure the plant—wilting, trampling, frost—can chemically liberate the cyanide within the leaves, rendering them dangerous to all species.

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