Many plants that grow in Australia are potentially poisonous to horses. Such plants can cause considerable economic and welfare problems for horse owners. Under most circumstances, horses will avoid consuming toxic amounts of poisonous plants. However, some poisonous plants are palatable to horses and some need only be consumed in very small amounts to cause poisoning. Horses may choose to eat poisonous plants when there is little alternative forage. Also, seasonal conditions may influence the toxicity levels of certain plants, making them more deadly at various times of the year.
An awareness of toxic plants growing in Australian and an understanding of the factors that influence the risk of poisoning will help horse owners keep their horses safe. Pasture management decisions and landscaping decisions should be made with consideration to plants that are potentially poisonous to horses.
This book is designed as a guide for horse owners to help them prevent plant poisoning in their horses. It clearly outlines the factors that influence the risk of plant poisoning and the ways to reduce this risk. The types of toxins that can be found in plants are discussed, along with the signs of poisoning that may be seen in horses that have ingested toxic plant material. A description of each plant is provided, including structure, growth habit and identifying features. Management notes suggest ways of dealing with poisonous plants on properties.
Download Plants Poisonous to Horses – An Australian Field Guide (pdf)
Plants Poisonous to Horses is published by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation.