POISONOUS PLANT ALERT - Personal Account This email is from Teri Cox of Marigold Stables to Susan Schultz of Basic HS Acres.
Teri found "HOARY ALYSSUM" in her hay, resulting in several deaths of horses that consumed the hay.
This is an alert for everyone about the hay your feeding your horses and one of the dangers to look for.
I have lost two horses in the last 3 weeks to this weed in new hay. I want to thank all for the support and the prayers and comforting messages. The remaining horses that suffered poisoning are making a slow but steady recovery.
The two mares that were at most risk are showing steady progress and now eating in a normal fashion. Both will have a long recovery ahead because of the laminitis - but are coming out of the depression that was pretty scary - they just were very withdrawn. Grand has come back to himself and enjoyed the company of a couple of mares this past few days which certainly helped his outlook.
Marzel is now eating again, but has lost quite a bit of weight and he will require some real management as he has to be coaxed along to finish his meals. Daytona and Presto are back to playing in their paddock and it looks like they will be ready to rejoin the school string by next month.
PLEASE.........everyone in the Midwest, this weed is found in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, and I would not be surprised that it would also be found in all of the prairie states.
The toxin in this weed that causes "some" horses to become ill is not known.
I will tell you that there have been four horse deaths in Clio, Michigan (about 15 miles from my farm) and two more just 8 miles from me in the last 3 days. Hoary Alyssum was found in the hay fed on both farms. MSU extension in Van Buren county Michigan has sent out a heads up bulletin about problems with this weed in south west Michigan. To read teh bulletin go to: http://www.emdc.msue.msu.edu/Bulletin/PDF/E2978.pdf
This weed is a killer and I strongly suggest that everyone check their hay and their pastures for this weed. I have been checking pasture and hay for several people who are clients and found the weed on two different sites - in a pasture and in a small hay field that was being harvested for the client.
Apparently the weather and conditions have been perfect for this weed this year in this area at least. The weed is thriving and crowding out alfalfa and grasses in hay fields and pastures. If you have any horse that gets even a bit stocked up and acting depressed - don't wait - call your vet and start fluids and get the stomach treated with activated charcoal and pepto or kaopetic and treat immediately to prevent laminitis and for pain - quick action will save the horse from death or founder.
Some of the information on this weed makes one think that horses would not be at risk for death unless they consumed a great deal of this weed - my experience was that the horses that were poisoned had been exposed to less that 10% of the weed in the hay fed.
On inspection of the hay, I had to spread out the bales and go through the leaves to find this plant - I would be very wary of accepting ANY sign of this weed in pasture or hay...PERIOD.
Teri Cox, Marigold Stables
Here is a web sites with information on Hoary Alyssum. Both of my mares that died had the port mortem damage to kidneys as reported on this site plus liver failure in Touché.