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Poisonous plants for horses


:four_leaf_clover: There are about seventy species of plants that are more or less toxic to horses. Fortunately, horses, these noble and intelligent animals, generally know how to recognize plants that are not good for them.

:horse: However, this is not always the case for the humans who take care of them. Poisoning or poisoning from poisonous plants can occur if a plant is inadvertently incorporated into the feed. Once cut and dried, these plants are more difficult for the animal to identify and can sometimes be even more toxic to developing horses.


If you suspect that your horse has ingested toxic plants, the best thing to do is to get a sample of the plant and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Horses can take a long time to digest, so you may not notice any side effects right away. Check your horse’s pulse, breathing and temperature regularly.

:horse: Horse nutrition can be complex, especially in a large environment where you can’t control your entire environment. In general, always carefully choose the plants that will make up your horse’s feed crops.


Boxwood – although very aesthetic and often used to form hedges or bushes, should be avoided at all costs: boxwood is very harmful and can cause a drop in blood pressure, signs of dizziness, cramps. The horse may also suffer from colic or diarrhea. It can succumb quickly to respiratory paralysis. The lethal dose is around 700 grams of fresh foliage.

Hellebores – 60 g will lead to death after the appearance of cramps and inevitable paralysis.

Ranunculaceae – such as aconite, pulsatile anemone, adonis, ranunculus and ficaria are all toxic plants for horses with more or less serious consequences in case of ingestion; aconite is fatal from 300 gram and causes paralysis of the pharynx, diarrhea, and anuria.

Wormwood – has dramatic consequences, especially on mares in foal, from 500 g (causes abortion). It will be necessary to be very vigilant for the horses of breeding (in particular the brood mares) which can live in the meadow in the year and foal regularly, as well as their foals.

:iphone:Since it is difficult to remember the full list of these plants, a smartphone app listing the seventy most dangerous plants for your horse is available to help: the Swiss National Stud Agroscope has developed the Toxiplant app, available for free on the Store, with pictures of toxic horse plants, typical symptoms of poisoning and essential first aid.

:ear_of_rice:Black nightshade contains alkaloids in its seeds. It causes irritation of the mucous membranes and abundant diarrhea.

:cherry_blossom: The oleander, also very aesthetic but very harmful! This plant is toxic for the horse at low dose. It causes a drop in temperature, dilation of the pupils, diarrhea and gastrointestinal disorders. Paralysis of the heart can cause death.

:deciduous_tree: Atypical myopathy (AM) is one of the most common pasture diseases in France and Europe. Usually fatal (70% of cases), this disease is characterized by a severe degeneration of the postural, respiratory and cardiac (myocardial) muscles. In most cases, symptoms appear suddenly: difficulty or inability to stand up, muscle stiffness, tremors, sweating, very dark urine (coffee color), congestion of the mucous membranes.

:leaves:Depending on the season, also look out for crocuses and daffodils in spring, common groundsel and poppies in summer, and brugmansia and fall crocuses. These wildflowers are a nice addition to the pasture but are toxic to horses.

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