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The Dangers of Sycamore Trees to Horses

The Dangers of Sycamore Trees to Horses

Over recent days we are seeing more and more sad cases of horses  that have unknowingly ingested sycamore seeds. A silent danger that many horse owners are facing at the moment as the leaves and sycamore seeds are falling from the trees in record numbers.

The digestion of sycamore leaves or seeds can result in unfortunate fatality for horses. Sycamore poisoning, also known as atypical myopathy, contains a toxin in it, if ingested by horses it affects muscle metabolism and heart rate. On average horses are 45% muscle, and sadly consequently can become life-threatening if unnoticed and left untreated.

What is Atypical Myopathy?

Atypical myopathy is an equine toxin, produced by sycamore trees, which can be lethal to horses when ingested, affecting their muscle movements and heart frequency.

The seeds produced by sycamore trees contain 'HGA' Hypoglycin, which if consumed is toxic to horses, causing the deterioration of energy production of muscle cells, and disturbing the heart as well as muscle seizing within the body, this can evolve very quickly even with a small amount digested, can result in a lack of breath and difficultly in mobility.

As well as the seeds of a sycamore being deadly, be aware of the trees' leaves as, although horses do not seek out to eat the leaves, it has been known to occur that when forgeable food is lacking, horses will eat these leaves in search of nutrition.

Although sycamore poisoning can be a danger and affect your horse all year round, it is more common and at a higher risk during the autumn and spring months. this is due to tree adaptation preparation for either winter or summer.

How can I keep my horse safe from sycamore poisoning?

If possible, keep horses out of fields that have sycamore trees in or nearby. Make sure your horse has plenty of feed, grass and hay available to avoid them searching for nutrition in unfamiliar plants, leaves and seeds.

Make sure to check the areas in which your horse(s) have accessibility, including stables, livery yards, pastures ad grazing fields.

If you notice a difference in your horse's muscular laboriousness, a reluctancy to stand up or walk, a change in heart rate (fast pace or irregular beats) and believe that your horse(s) may have ingested sycamore leaves or seeds, then immediately contact your veterinary practice to seek further advice and support.

Hestevard Hepalyte is a widely used anti-oxidant and Vitamin support liquid. It is a powerful liver tonic containing natural and synthetic antioxidants, B-Vitamins and Milk Thistle. This highly palatable liver tonic may be used alone or often used alongside other medicines and is often selected by veterinary practices to support horses showing signs of sycamore or other similar toxicity.

For more information on Hepalyte, CLICK HERE