Toxic Plants in the Southwest

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There are quite a few toxic plants in the SW that if a horse attempts to eat could be toxic or even deadly. According to Equisearch if a horse is feed quality forage the toxic plant in the pasture will be less palatable to eat. In a 1000 pound animal it takes a lot of a plant to have a toxic effect. Unfortunately horses are curious creatures to say the least and some plants with just a nibble or grazing over a period of weeks or months can be lethal or make a horse very ill. Here is a least of a few plants to watch out for and how they look like, according to Anthony Knight BVS, MRCVS, and Plant Toxicologist from Colorado State University: 1) Hemlock (poison hemlock, spotted hemlock) • Hazard: hemlock leaves, stems and seeds contain several neurotoxin that affect both the central and peripheral nervous systems. 4 to 5 pounds is lethal dose for a horse. • Signs: they appear within an hour or two of consumption. Starts with nervousness, tremors, and incoordination, progressing to depression, than diminishes heart rate and respiratory rates, and sometimes colic. Respiratory failure is the final stage which results in death. • There is no treatment, if smaller doses are consumed then animals may recover with supportive care. 2) Tansy ragwort (groundsel) • Hazard: toxicity levels vary for different species of this plant but they are all thought to contain at least some concentration of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which inhibit cell division, especially in the liver. Damage
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