Poisonous Plants & Other Toxins
Maxine Kinne

Just because it's green and looks tasty doesn't mean it's health food for goats. Numerous plants and other materials are poisonous, and it is our responsibility to protect our animals from them. A well fed goat often isn't hungry enough to eat enough poisonous material to kill it, but very small amounts of some very potent poisons can kill. Hungry goats are far more susceptible to poisoning - they are much less scrupulous about what they eat, and they eat greater quantities of it.

Immediate veterinary attention is essential when poisoning is suspected. It isn't always possible to save the goat, even with prompt treatment. Prevention is aimed at keeping goats in a well fenced area free from toxins and making sure they have enough to eat so that they aren't prone to overeat something harmful. 

My list of poisons includes items which are toxic to any kind of  livestock. Amounts needed to produce toxicity differ greatly. Some plants grow only in certain areas of the U.S. Familiarize yourself with the ones that grow in your area. Your Cooperative Extension Service should have information pertinent to your locale. Information for sheep and cattle is more abundant than it is for goats, so don't overlook publications that don't directly relate to goats. Your county may also have a Weed Control Board or other agricultural agencies to help you identify plants that could be potentially harmful.

Toxicity depends on many factors including: age, individual body chemistry, individual susceptibility, strength of the poison, quantity consumed, growing conditions (drought, freezing, etc.), season of the year, specific plant parts, and other variables. Some plants and materials are very toxic in small amounts. Others are cumulative and require consumption over long periods of time. Some cause irreparable damage, while the effects of others can be overcome with treatment and time.

You can avoid the most common causes of poisoning by considering all varieties of houseplants and ornamental landscaping plants to be toxic. Better safe than sorry!

 Possible Poisoning Symptoms
Variations from mild to extremely severe

chronic wasting
cries of pain
difficult breathing
dilated pupils
dull coat
frothing at the mouth
mouth irritation
muscle spasms or tremors
muscle weakness
pulse, weak or rapid
teeth grinding

When Poisoning is Suspected

1. Prevent further exposure to the poison
2. Isolate the goat and make fresh water available
3. Avoid stressing the goat
4. Keep samples of suspected material to aid diagnosis
5. Call your veterinarian immediately for diagnosis and treatment
6. Home remedies may worsen the condition - do not use them!

To Poisonous Plants List


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