In our last post, we covered Sycamore Trees, Acorns and Ragwort. In this post, we will look at three more poisonous plants. Foxglove, Hemlock, and deadly nightshade.
You can recognise the Foxglove for their wonderful flowers and colour. Horses will not normally eat Foxgloves, but if it gets cut in a hay crop by mistake it is more palatable and can get eaten.
Just 100 g can prove fatal and symptoms of foxglove poisoning are contracted pupils, convulsions and breathing difficulties. This is followed by death after only a few hours. Prevention is better than cure and pulling up and foxgloves including roots and burning away from your horse’s paddock or hay crop.
Hemlock looks a little like cow parsley and can get mistaken for it. You can find it in borders, hedgerows and the banks of streams. It smells of mice when crushed and it is the smell and taste that limits the likelihood of being eaten unless the grass is very short.
It is possibly addictive and 1 kg (2 1/2 lbs) of leaves will kill a horse. Nicotine action first stimulates then depresses the autonomic ganglia – paralyses motor nerve endings.
Dilated pupils, weakness, staggering to loss of consciousness, breathing paralysed and death.
Deadly nightshade can be found on woodland and scrubland. Luckily it is now uncommon to find this plant. The active principal ingredient is Glycoalkaloids, e.g. atropine and scopolamine. This plant is very rare but lethal.
Dilated pupils, and inflamed mucous membranes of mouth and nose. Excited, inco-ordinated, not quickly lethal. The central nervous system is affected.
Remember with any suspected poisoning from poisonous wild plants call the vet straight away.
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