Over the next few posts, we’re going to show some of the plants that are toxic to horses and which tend to be common, well-known plants. We’ll also feature some that may be lesser known.
Red Maple Tree
The red maple tree is very common throughout the United States and is one of its native trees. It is very commonly used for landscaping, and also grows naturally in many places.
The part of the tree toxic to horses is the leaves. The leaves can be fresh, dried or wilted from the fall weather in order to be dangerous. The wilted and dried ones can be especially dangerous as they can blow during fall winds, storms, or be collected in lawn clippings given to horses (although this is not recommended).
In order to be toxic, horses would need to ingest 3 pounds of leaves for every 1000 pounds. At this rate, the leaves can be deadly.
It is not known what exactly the leaves contain that makes them toxic to horses, but the effect the leaves have is that red blood cells are destroyed.
The symptoms that you will see with poisoning look like other red blood cell disease symptoms:
- Severe anemia
- Increased heart and breathing rates
Right now, there is no cure or antidote for poisoning from red maple leaves. The best that any veterinarian can do is simply provide support and therapy to the horse.
In some extreme cases, however, a complete blood transfusion may be needed to save the horse’s life.