Toxic Fall Leaves

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Make sure you know what your horse is eating.
Who doesn’t love fall? The bright colors of the leaves changing is such a spectacular sight. However, it doesn’t come without risk to horse owners. Your fields could have toxic trees in them. When pastures become overgrazed in the fall and winter, your horse might turn to eating fallen leaves. Keep a lookout for these trees!
From left to right: Red Maple, Black Walnut, Oak, Cherry Tree.
1) Red Maple The leaves from red maple trees are poisonous to your horse. A pound and a half is toxic, while three pounds can be fatal. Horses who have consumed these leaves may exhibit symptoms such as trouble breathing, increased heart rate, and dark brown urine. 2) Black Walnut This tree can be found in fields, but more commonly it is used as bedding by mistake. Sawdust with black walnut, even as little as 20%, can be toxic within 24 hours. Your horse might experience trouble walking, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and laminitis. With proper treatment, conditions can usually be reversed. 3) Oak Large amounts of oak leaves and acorns are toxic to horses. They can cause kidney damage. Signs of poisoning can include depression, blood in urine, colic, and lack of appetite. 4) Cherry Trees Wilted leaves and trees that have experienced drought or frost can be toxic to your horse. You may notice trouble breathing, anxiety, flared nostrils, and convulsions in your horse. When a horse is poisoned from too much hydrogen cyanide their urine will turn bright cherry red. Other toxic trees include Yew, Oleander, Black Locust, and Horse Chestnut. Always research the trees in your horse’s field. It’s not worth the risk!