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First Posted: May 7, 2013
Dec 10, 2014

Oleander Poisoning, Nerium Oleander, in Horses

by Debora Johnson

Image: Wikipedia/Alvesgaspar
Image: Oleander Nerium

Oleander has cardio-toxic compounds. When ingested it causes heart arrhythmias that lead to cardiac arrest and then death. The entire plant is poisonous, however, most animals eat the leaves. As little as 1 ounce of oleander leaves can cause death in horses. It does not matter if these leaves are green or dried. They are extremely toxic. Within 8 to 10 hours after ingestion a horse can die. Rarely do horses live beyond 24 hours after eating this extremely toxic plant. Fortunately, horses do not eat this plant as it has a nasty taste. However, sometimes it is in the pasture or mixed in with their hay or feed. Since it takes so little to kill a horse it does happen.

There are a number of clinical signs in horses including colic, diarrhea, profuse sweating, breathing difficulty, muscle tremors, ataxia and the inability to stand. There will usually be a weak and irregular pulse, cold extremities and often convulsions prior to death. There is no specific fix for oleander poisoning in horses. However, it is important to always call your vet immediately as drugs can be administered to relax smooth muscles and laxatives can be given to remove as much of the plant as possible from the system. Unless veterinary treatment is immediate, prognosis for horses suffering from this plant's toxicity is very poor.

For More Information:

Oleander Poisoning in Horses
Suspected Nerium oleander (Oleander) Poisoning in a Horse