Toxic plants for horses | Living the Country Life

Toxic plants for horses

Yew and oleander two of the top culprits

Occasionally, veterinarians get called to a property to investigate a horse poisoning because the poor animal has nibbled on some vegetation that he shouldn't have and it's made him sick. Fortunately, toxic plants don't taste good, so older horses know to leave them alone. But curious fillies and foals sometimes take a bite anyway. Or maybe they're really hungry, or ingest them accidentally.

Veterinary Toxicologist Steve Hooser at Purdue University says horse poisoning by a couple of the most deadly plants -- yew and oleander -- is completely preventable.

"What happens with these particular plants is that people will trim their yew bushes, or trim their oleanders, and then they'll throw them over the fence to their horses or other livestock," Hooser says. "And both of those plants are particularly deadly. It doesn't take very much to cause the death of some of the animals that are eating them."

If your pasture is well managed, there's a smaller risk of hazardous vegetation. But, it's a good idea to know what's nasty by sight so you can keep your horse away from toxic plants. If the horse is well fed, he probably won't have an appetite for them either. (Continued on page 2...)

Radio interview source: Dr. Steve Hooser, head of veterinary toxicology, Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab, Purdue University

Listen to this radio story (MP3 download)

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