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21 February 2019   
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Poisonous Plants A-Z


RAGWORT – or groundsels – any of the European plants of the composite family, that have yellow daisy like flowers and possessing poisonous properties.
Horses tend not to eat this plant when it is fresh and growing wild, unless there is a shortage of other fodder. They are also more likely to eat it when it is dried in the hay, as it is less bitter.

Symptoms – Usually these are not shown until the case has become chronic. An unaccounted for colic attack which may prove fatal can be caused through large amounts of dried Ragwort in the hay or in sustained ingestion over a period of time. In chronic cases there may be a loss of condition, inappetite, dullness, the gait staggery and constipation, and sometimes diarrhoea. Owing to liver damage the mucus membranes are pallid and may be icteric.

Treatment – Seek immediate professional veterinary advice. Treatment is usually to no avail in the advanced stages of Ragwort poisoning. If constipated a purgative may be administered followed by tonics. Sometimes glucose is of benefit. If colic treat as advised by your vet.

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