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Eng Book- Poisonous Plants in Pastures- Download Free PDF


Livestock and horses can be injured or poisoned by many plants that grow in a pasture setting. In
productive pastures, livestock will usually eat only the grasses and legumes to which they are accustomed, but when pastures are overgrazed, animals often consume poisonous plants they would not eat if
given a choice.
There is no grazing season entirely free of toxic plants. Early spring pastures may need special attention
because of lack of desirable grasses and legumes. Some poisonous plantsare a temporary threat to
animals because they represent a disproportionately high percentage of the pasture in early spring. Often,
during dry, mid-summer months there is a lack of forage growth, so livestock will turn to the remaining
green plants, including toxic weeds and cultivated plants. Some weeds are more toxic as a result of midsummer drought, killing frosts in the fall, or physical damage to the plants during the course of the
growing season.
Good pasture management is one of the most important steps in preventing animal suffering or loss from
toxic plants. Keeping the desirable forage species productive throughout the grazing season reduces the
possibility of animals grazing on poisonous plants.
Most poisonous weeds and cultivated plants can be controlled. It may be practical to simply fence off
infested areas so that animals do not have access to particularly hazardous weeds. An alternative method
of controlling poisonous weeds is to spray them with approved herbicides. Another alternative is to
physically or mechanically remove the problem plants.
The following tables list some of the plants that can cause sickness and sometimes death to grazing
livestock and horses. If you suspect an animal has eaten something poisonous, it is important to call your
veterinarian immediately.
Keep telephone numbers for your veterinarian and the National Animal Poison Control Center
(1-888-426-4435) in a convenient location. A service of the American Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, every day, by veterinary toxicologists.
Because the center receives no government or private funding, there is a $45 charge per case, though, at
no extra charge, the Center will do as many follow-up calls as necessary in critical cases, and at the
owner's request will contact their veterinarian directly. The Center also provides, by fax, specific treatment protocols and current literature citations when needed.
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