Did you know that cockleburs (Xanthium genus), those annoying burs that stick to your clothes and scratch your skin, are toxic if consumed? Most people are not in the habit of consuming the prickly, spiny seed pods, but they can be incorporated into animal feeds and hay. Horses, pigs, and cattle can all become poisoned. Pigs are the species most commonly poisoned from these seedlings.
Are your horses on a poor pasture this fall? Is there a beautiful red maple tree in the field? You might want to think twice about this tree being a pasture-mate to your horses. Green or wilted leaves of the red maple tree can be hazardous to your horse’s health.
Consumption of the wilted leaves of the red maple will cause an acute and profound Heinz body anemia (destruction of red blood cells) and methemoglobin production.
The toxin involved in the poisoning has, to-date, not been identified.
Christmas holly, or English Holly is a commonly prized holiday ornamental that may prove to be irresistible to your pets. Although there are two genera of holly, the Ilex genus, with its 29 species, are all toxic. The technical name for the Christmas holly is Ilex aquifolium.
It is just a few short weeks before the Christmas holidays. Your best friend sends you a beautiful Christmas cactus to accent the season. Unfortunately your pets decide that the colorful flowers of your holiday plant are truly irresistible. Your dog, with the help of the family cat, uses the plant as a newly acquired play toy and disassembles the Christmas cactus while you are at work. Should you be concerned that some of the flat segments which comprise the Christmas cactus found their way into your pet’s stomach? Probably not!
Do you have a beautiful, full, dark green exotic palm tree as a houseplant? Do you have exotic palms as part of your landscaping? If you have pets or livestock that can access these plants you may want to rethink the use of them in your garden.
Is your dog having trouble getting around? Do you think your dog may be running an elevated temperature? Think you might help him out by giving him an aspirin? Don’t! Aspirin may be toxic to your pet, especially in high doses.
Think toads are harmless? Do you think it’s alright if your dog or cat decides on a frog-leg snack? If you live in a warmer part of the world you might just want to rethink your position. Especially large or colorful frogs may be hazardous to the health of your pets. In fact, toads were responsible for the 8th most common way pets were poisoned during 2007 in the United States.
The beautiful flowering shrub adjacent to your porch may have a sinister side to it. Don’t let those colorful blooms fool you. Cuttings from these bushes may be toxic to your pets and livestock.
According to both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, pets are more likely to exceed recommended levels of lead exposure through household contamination rather than by pet toys. Pets and children may be exposed to lead contained in consumer products like lead sinkers used to weigh down fishing lines, the consumption of old paint chips, linoleum, certain paints used by artists, or the inhalation of lead dust when surfaces of older homes are scraped or sanded.
Tall fescue (Festuca elatior or F. arundinace) is among the most common cool season pasture grasses grown in North America and in other countries having a temperate climate. Almost all of the pasture planted before 1980 is infected with Neotyphodium coenophialum, a microscopic fungus or endophyte. "Endophyte" describes the location of the fungal growth within the grass as endo=within and phyte=plant.