Be Careful Do Not Toss Yard Waste Over Your Horse Fence
Posted: October 19, 2011
By Ann Swinker, PSU Extension, Equine Sciences Program
Perhaps during this time of year, the greatest risk comes from those who need a place to discard their yew bush trimmings. As little as ½lb. of yew trimmings, consumed by a horse can be fatal. Common symptoms of poisoning, from this evergreen ornamental bush is sudden death within 24 hours, though occasionally death may be precluded by respiratory difficulty, shaking or muscle weakness. Worst is there’s no known antidote for yew poisoning.
Other common ornamentals to our landscape are the Rhododendrons and Azaleas. All parts of these plants, but especially the foliage, contain the poison, and two or three leaves may produce a severe toxic reaction. Rhododendrons are more likely to retain green leaves year round than most other plants, and most toxicoses occur in the early spring, when other green forage is unavailable.
So prevention is critical to assure keeping your horse healthy. As summer arrives and new plants begin growing, other plants with the potential to harm horses are also leafing out. For more info on plant toxicity, see the following web sites:
- University of Pennsylvania: http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/poison/index.html
- Cornell University: www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/plants.html
- Colorado State University: www.vth.colostate.edu/poisonous_plants/
- West Virginia University: www.caf.wvu.edu/~Forage/library/poisonous/content.htm
- Ohio State University: www.library.uiuc.edu/vex/toxic/comlist.htm
- eXtension Horse Quest http://campus.extension.org/mod/book/view.php?id=131