Pasture plants are plants that grow in open areas such as fields, meadows, and pastures. These plants are poisonous to horses because they contain toxins that can cause gastrointestinal problems and death. Some of the most common pasture plants that contain toxins are clover, daisy, dandelion, nettle, chicory, borage, and yarrow. Horses may ingest these toxins by eating the plant directly or by grazing on its leaves and flowers. The ingestion of these toxins can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as colic and constipation; in some cases, it can also lead to death. For this reason, it is important for horse owners to be aware of which pasture plants are toxic to their horses and to keep them away from these plants whenever possible.
The horse’s digestive system and how it handles plant toxins
Horses are naturally curious and often explore their surroundings, including the surrounding pasture. However, many plants in a pasture can be toxic to horses, so it is important for owners to be aware of what is safe for their horses to eat. Some of the plants that are particularly toxic to horses include ragweed, poison ivy, oak bark, sumac and others. Owners should also keep an eye on their horses when they’re grazing in a pasture as some poisonous plants may only flower during certain times of year or during specific weather conditions.
Clinical signs of pasture plant toxicity in horses
The potential for pasture plants to be toxic to horses is well documented, with many varieties posing a potential threat. Clinical signs of toxicity can include: colic, emesis, diarrhea, anorexia, ataxia, neurologic dysfunction (including depressed reflexes and tremors), and even death. Although not all pasture plants are toxic to horses, it is important to be aware of the possibilities, as any one plant may contain toxins that could injure or kill a horse if ingested in large quantities. To minimize your horse’s exposure to potentially harmful pasture plants, it is important to know the common ones to avoid and ask your veterinarian about specific species that are known to be harmful.
Treatment and prevention of pasture plant toxicity in horses
Horses can be poisoned by plants in their diet. Some plants, such as bluegrass and clover, are healthy for horses to eat, while others (parsley, for example) can be toxic. Here are some tips on how to treat and prevent pasture plant toxicity in horses:
1. Always check the ingredients list on horse feed products before purchasing them. Look for pasture-based ingredients first, and then check for other potential toxins that the plant may contain.
2. If a horse begins to show signs of illness after eating a plant that is known to be toxic, immediately contact your veterinarian. Symptoms of toxicity in horses can include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and seizures.
3. Keep an eye out for plants that your horse might not traditionally be consuming (like parsley), as they may contain toxins.