Ragwort warning for horses

RSPCA representatives across the East region are working hard this summer to highlight the dangers of ragwort.

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the effects of ragwort poisoning on horses and livestock.

Just a small intake of ragwort over a long period of time can be just as damaging as a large intake on a single occasion. And sadly ragwort poisoning does not show symptoms until liver damage has occurred and it is usually too late to save the animals.

Animals which ingest ragwort may initially lose weight and suffer from depression, loss of appetite, constipation, sunburn and jaundice.

In the later stages animals may suffer further distressing symptoms including loss of coordination, breathing difficulties, blindness or convulsions.

Branch chairman Sally Phillips said: “It is heartbreaking when we see fields covered with this potentially lethal plant and it is growing next to where horses or livestock are happily grazing.

“We are certain that if the animals’ owners were aware of the dangers, then they would remove this weed immediately.”

Flowering of ragwort is from late June onwards to early autumn and it is at this stage that ragwort needs to be destroyed.

Anyone wishing to make a complaint about the presence of ragwort is advised to contact Natural England www.naturalengland.org.uk