Poisonous Plants to Pets
The Fiddlenecks

Poisonous Plants to Pets the Fiddlenecks and other plants

Horse Poison

When it comes to poisonous plants and pets the fiddlenecks are definately one.

The Fiddlenecks (Amsinchkia intermerdia) are a flowering plant which have gently curling tops like that of a fern.

Fiddlenecks have spread widely through regions over the years.

They are annual plants with yellow or orange flowers. Stems are single or branched with dark to grayish green hairy leaves.

The seeds are considered the most toxic part of this plant.

When it comes to poisonous plants and pets the Fiddlenecks are thought to be harmful to horses as well as other animals. If we humans have the occasion to be scratched by one, there can be some skin irritations to us folks as well.

In literature for Poisonous Plants and Pets the Fiddlenecks are said to be common to pastures and roadsides. In the past this poison has been commonly found in untreated grain crops, some hay and first cuttings of alfalfa.

Some populations consider the fiddleneck to be a delicacy. Eating the seeds, shoots or leaves, this plant has been used for food or medicine.However, when it comes to poisonous plants and pets the Fiddlenecks are not as good a cuisine.

Poisonous Plants and Pets the Fiddlenecks and their sources..,

Bent-flowered Fiddleneck:
Found in the inner coast ranges and is listed as endangered by the federal government.

Devil's Lettuce or Bristly Fiddleneck:
Found in most of California, Arizona, Oregon and Washington as well as some others. This plant is considered common.

Douglas' Fiddleneck:
Found in the South Coast and western ranges of California, this genus is considered uncommon.

Eastwood's Fiddleneck:
Located in central and southern California, and can be found in the lower lying areas.

Green Fiddleneck:
Found in the coast ranges and is considered uncommon.

Large-flowered Fiddleneck:
Found in California and is listed as endangered by the federal government.

Malheur Fiddleneck:
Found in the Oregon region and is listed as endangered by the state.

Rancher's Fireweed:
Found throughout the western states, into British Columbia.

Seaside Fiddleneck or Woolly Breeches:
Found on the Pacific coast and into British Columbia.

Tarweed Fiddleneck:
Found in the pacific coast US as well as into British Columbia. This plant is considered common.

Poisonous Plants and Pets the Fiddlenecks and their Effects..,

Compounds in the form of alkaloids are changed in the liver to substances which cause cell damage to death. Damage can be made through the ingestion of large amounts of these compounds to a little at a time where damage may not be observed until there is significant internal damage.

When a horse’s liver is poisoned, you may see behavioral changes such as depression, wondering, sunburn of the pink skinned areas, weight loss, bleeding, and jaundice of your equine companion.

However, never assume. Call your vet and get a proper diagnosis including a blood and urine test or possibly a liver biopsy.

An independent article on poisonous plants and pets the Fiddlenecks..,

Article: Jill M. Patt, DVM

Amsinkia intermerdia - Common Name: Tarweed & Fiddleneck A common weed in the desert southwest is showing up in large volumes this year and causing liver disease in horses & livestock.

What is it?

A substance in the plant that is converted to a toxin called pyrroles in the body. This toxin can bind to DNA in liver cells and percent them from undergoing cellular division and liver regeneration. This process will continue as more & more of the weed is ingested until in a few weeks the once healthy liver cells are replaced by scar tissue (fibrosis) and the liver is unable to complete its normal functions resulting in liver failure. Other tissues are affected in the horse in smaller amounts including the heart muscle and the lungs.

Does it taste good?

Not really, typically horses on poor or limited pastures are the ones exposed to this toxin. As the pasture is overgrazed only these hardy weeds grow and the horses will then graze on and ingest this plant.

How Toxic is it?

Very, as little as 15mg/kg in a horse over as few as 2 weeks can potentially cause liver failure. Other estimates of toxic dose are between 1 & 5 percent of body weight ingested daily for 2 weeks.

So how do I know if my horse has liver problems?

Easy answer - Have you vet examine and run a blood panel on your horse. Blood work should include at a minimum a CBC and a chemistry panel. The blood panel can pick of signs of toxicity prior to your horse being in full liver failure - giving you time for corrective action. Your doctor will look for common signs of liver failure including icterus (yellowing of mucus membranes & skin), unexplained hemorrhage, abnormal behavior, weight loss and a poor appetite. Some horses may also develop sensitivity to sunlight causing dermatitis.

The only definitive diagnosis is a liver biopsy but many veterinarians will formulate a tentative diagnosis based on history of the weed in the horse's pasture and both laboratory and clinical signs.

What is the antidote?

Answer - none, the treatment consists of supportive care and early diagnosis of disease with elimination of the weed form the feed or pasture. Commonly skin wounds are treated, fluid support is given and basically the horse is kept alive giving time for the liver to make new cells (regenerate) and heal. Thus the importance of early action in removal of this plant for the horse's graze cannot be overstated.

Please consult with your equine veterinarian for assistance with your particular horse. Most veterinarians are more then happy to review your feeding and pasture management system to prevent a problem. Also regular interaction with you veterinarian will enable disease to be caught and corrected early, potentially saving your horse.

Jill M. Patt, DVM

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PLEASE NOTE: This web page on Poisonous Plants and Pets the Fiddlenecks, is based on the research and conversations that we have had with various people and professionals on the subject of horses health and horse wormer requirements and is not intended to replace veterinary care for your animals. We do not accept liability for errors or omissions. A vet, horse nutritionist or other trained professional should always be consulted with any equine concerns, or before changing any feeding or care regime.