18 Plants Toxic to Horses

Do you know what plants are growing in your paddock?

Do you know which ones could potentially kill your horse?

There are many poisonous weeds in Australia (and around the world) that are responsible for serious illness and death in horses. Thankfully, these plants are generally not eaten by our equine friends, but in paddocks that are overgrazed, or in drought periods, when feed is low and poor, the likelihood of ingestion of these plants becomes higher.

It is therefore imperative, as horse owners, to be able to identify, control, and remove these weeds, as well as identify the signs of toxicity from ingestion.

Common symptoms of plant toxicity include:

  • Reduced appetite

  • Depression

  • Weakness and lethargy

  • Nervous symptoms

  • Colic or diarrhoea

  • Increased heart rate and breathing rate

  • Muscle tremors

  • Staggering or lack of coordination

  • Head jerking

  • Blindness

  • Jaundice

  • Death

If you suspect your horse has ingested toxic plant materials, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Below are images of the 18 common plants in Australia that cause toxicity in horses. You can get more information and a full guide at www.rirdc.gov.au

Bathurst Burr

Bathurst Burr

Fireweed

Fireweed

Grain Sorghum

Grain Sorghum

Kikuyu

Kikuyu

Oleander

Oleander

Ragwort

Ragwort

Bracken Weed

Bracken Weed

Flatweed

Flatweed

Heliotrope

Heliotrope

Lupins

Lupins

Paspalum

Paspalum

Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial Ryegrass

Couch grass

Couch grass

Dandelion

Dandelion

Johnson Grass

Johnson Grass

Noogoora Burr

Noogoora Burr

Paterson’s Curse

Paterson’s Curse

St Barnaby’s Thistle

St Barnaby’s Thistle

Sarah Gallagher Equestrian Movement