USDA–ARS. It is not common for livestock or horses to consume milkweed as it is highly unpalatable. A standby in the butterfly garden, milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), which grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9, provides the sole food source for monarch butterfly caterpillars. Use pesticides selectively and carefully and follow recommended procedures for the safe storage and disposal of surplus pesticides and containers. This means that a toxic dose of milkweed may be as little as 300g (Whorled milkweed) or as much as 9,000g for a 500kg horse. Toxicity is not lost when the plant is dried. Herbicides that are currently labeled for control of milkweed are listed in Table 1. Unfortunately our whole pasture and hay fields are full of milkweed, toxic, invasive weed that is poisonous to all animals. Ingestion of milkweed is most common when the plant is dried and baled. However, Whorled milkweed contains an extremely toxic neurological poison. This means that precautions still need to be taken when feeding baled hay. Knight, A.P. Therefore, horse owners should take appropriate measures to rid their pastures of milkweed and ensure that the hay they provide their horses is safe and free of milkweed. We're going to create a butterfly garden. The toxic Whorled milkweed is shown to the right. Original authors: Jason L. Turner, Extension Horse Specialist; Keith Duncan, Extension Brush and Weed Specialist; and Kyle Tator, Valencia County Extension Agent. I understand that Milkweed is toxic. Of the two, the neurotoxin is the most lethal. All rights reserved | The contents of this site are for informational purposes only. Are Bigger Dogs Smarter than Smaller Breeds? Duncan, K.W., and K.C. is Associate Professor and Extension Horse Specialist. The finer stem of milkweed makes it difficult for the horse to find and pick out. Its other primary use is in butterfly gardens, as it acts as a food source and habitat for the monarch butterfly. Butterfly weed is a member of the milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae). It is also recommended that herbicides are used, following the manufacturer’s guidelines. Please be aware that pesticide labels and registration can change at any time; by law, it is the applicator’s responsibility to use pesticides ONLY according to the directions on the current label. Further control recommendations can be found in NMSU Extension Circular 597, Chemical Weed and Brush Control for New Mexico Rangelands (http://aces.nmsu.edu/pubs/_circulars/CR597/welcome.html.) Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) 6,738 Views. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves of milkweed, the only host plant for this iconic butterfly species. The plant itself stands around 3 to 4 feet tall and leaks a milky sap when the stem is broken. Form what ive read, It appears to be very toxic. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Tags equine milkweed plant poison poisoning toxic, A gene potentially linked to epilepsy has been discovered in dogs. Whilst some milkweed species contain cardiac glycosides (a naturally occuring, sugar derived molecule that is used in human medicine to treat heart failure), Whorled milkweed contains an unidentified neurotoxin that is much more potent. Because milkweed is highly unpalatable, it is unlikely that a horse will eat it through choice, however, there are a few simple steps that owners can take to reduce the likelihood of milkweed poisoning. However, recent events have shown that it is possible for horses to succumb to poisoning. 2001. The genus name Asclepias is named after the Greek god of medicine Asklepios. As such, milkweed is critical for the survival of monarchs. Over time, the horse develops a deficiency in thiamine, an essential vitamin B. Bracken poisoning in horses is caused by horses ingesting all or part of the Bracken fern, usually within the hay they are fed or when they happen to forage upon it. 34–39). This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. I have had milkweed in some of my hay land over the years, but not enough to be a problem. The risk of poisoning increases when pastures or rangelands are overgrazed and horses have no other suitable forage to eat. It is not common for livestock or horses to consume milkweed as it is highly unpalatable. Required fields are marked *. BSc Bioveterinary Science. It may have “weed” in the name, but there are over 100 species of milkweed … Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Milkweed is very unpalatable, and horses do not readily consume it. 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