Welcome to our weekly Monday morning edition of the a-z of plants that are dangerous to your horse. Today’s plant is only found in northern regions & is an absolutely beautiful bad boy. While Rosebay Willowherb is quite bad for your horse, it is brilliantly easy to recognize.
A Little About Rosebay Willowherb
Chamerion angustifolium is also called Fireweed & Rosebay Willowherb. This is a perennial herb with reddish, smooth stems. Leaves are lanceolate & alternate. Flowers are magenta/ pink & radially symmetrical with four petals.
How Dangerous Is It?
While common where it grows & can easily be found in grazing areas, this plant is not palatable & generally only a problem during drought conditions. However, it is highly toxic & worth recognizing on sight. Rosebay Willowherb contains Grayanotoxin, which affects skeletal/ cardiac muscle & nerve function.
All parts of this plant are toxic & can be fatal to equines.
What To Look For
You know your animal the best, so you should know when something is amiss. Rosebay Willowherb toxicity symptoms occur within a few hours of ingestion & include digestive upset, drooling, loss of appetite, diarrhea, colic, depression, weakness, loss of coordination, stupor, paralysis of the legs & weak heart rate.
Be sure to check out the Rosebay Willowherb page to learn more about the plant & while you are at it why not check out more toxic plants?
*It should be noted that we’re not veterinarians. This information is written specifically for horses & should be used for reference purposes only. If you think your horse has eaten something toxic call your vet right away.