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3 Plants That Can Be Fatal To Horses


There are many plants that can be dangerous to horses if they are eaten in excess. But what about plants that can cause adverse effect almost instantly? It’s really important that you’re able to recognise plants that can be potentially lethal to horses and what the symtoms are so that you know when your horse is in danger.


Ragwort is probably the most commonly known plant that is incredibly dangerous to horses. It’s often seen growing in British grasslands but especially likes wasteland and areas of poor grazing. It’s easy to spot as it’s yellow flowers are distinguishable. It can take up to 2 years to grow, but just one plant can have thousands of seeds that are dispersed widely by the wind meaning that Ragwort can spread rapidly.

Although horses won’t usually eat Ragwort as it grows in the fields, they may do if it is in hay. Always make sure that you check your hay and buy it from a reputable seller.

If you’re worried that your horse may have digested Ragwort, you’ll need to look out for sudden weight loss. If you do suspect that your horse has eaten Ragwort then contact your vet.


Although many animals can eat acorns without a problem, horses cannot. Acorns contain tannic and gallic acids that can cause problems with your horses kidneys. There’s plenty of symptoms if your horse has eaten acorns including constipation, weight-loss and blood in urine. Always avoid grazing your horse in a field with an oak tree and be on specially high alert when hacking out in wooded areas during early Autumn,


If digested, Foxgloves can be fatal to lots of animals, including horses and humans! Similarly to Ragwort, horses are unlikely to eat Foxglove that is fresh buy may do if it is in hay. It’s really important that you check hay thoroughly and know exactly where it has come from as only 100 grams of foxgloves can prove to be fatal to horses. Symptoms include contracted pupils, convulsions and breathing difficulties. Call your vet immediately if you suspect your horse has eaten Foxgloves!

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