Equines (horses, ponies, donkeys, mules) and bovines (cattle) are more susceptible to ragwort poisoning than other livestock; with young animals being more prone than older ones. Animals (ragwort is toxic to all animals though ruminants are less susceptible) should be kept off sprayed pasture until the weeds are removed as the Ragwort plants are more palatable when wilted than fresh. Out of kindness for your horse, euthanasia is often the only option. If ingestion of the plant, whether it be in the pasture or mixed in with the hay is determined early enough, removal of the tansy ragwort from your horse’s proximity and prompt veterinary care may allow for improvement in your equine’s condition. If caught early enough, blood tests may reveal a toxicity, with relevant markers pointing to liver damage. The most widespread type found in England and Wales is known as ‘Common Ragwort’ ( sensecio jacobaea ). This disease or toxicity develops insidiously – your horse may show no signs at all of any illness at first. Diagnosis is best on history, signs and microscopic examination of liver and kidney tissue collected at necropsy. Even the best pasture management cannot be considered safe as seeds lying dormant in the ground can germinate a few seasons later and start the cycle again. may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Plants are best dug out, or levered out using a specially designed fork and removed and burned. Animals showing signs rarely recover, and lesions present in asymptomatic animals may progress and result in further losses over several months. By the time the symptoms alert you or your veterinarian to the problem and your horse’s condition is diagnosed, your horse’s liver will be disintegrating leading to a slow demise. There is no effective treatment for Liver failure ( as a result of ragwort poisoning) - the liver can only be helped to repair itself. Wilted or dead plants left lying on the land to be eaten by the horses, defeats digging them out in the first place. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. A good physical examination and screening the blood for liver enzyme abnormalities are important first steps. Prevention and careful observation is by far the prudent way to manage the spread of this toxic plant. Treatment and Control: Further intake of toxic plant material must be prevented. Yew trees are extremely toxic to horses and all grazing animals. Follow-up liver biopsies help to monitor progression of the condition in horses receiving treatment for ragwort poisoning. Ragwort is a weed which contains many different alkaloids, making it poisonous to animals – in particular horses – if eaten in sufficient quantities. It can resemble other plants with a thick fibrous stem and can therefore be very difficult to recognise in hay or other drier forage. Intravenous fluids, electrolytes, glucose, and B vitamins are useful as is protecting the horse from the sun. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. In the absence of effective methods to remove Common ragwort from a pasture, field management is in our opinion a good way to reduce the nuisance that this species can cause. The amount of plant required to cause serious damage is very small. There is no effective treatment. There are few early signs of poisoning. Ragwort is rarely a problem in gardens but may occur in pony paddocks, railway embankments and areas of unimproved pasture. But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. Poisoning can occur at any time of the year and generally has a cumulative effect. 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