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Plants that poison goats

rhrododendronFrom Diseases of Goats by John Mathews, 2nd Edition 1999. Blackwell Science. ISBN 0-632-05167-1
  • Assume that all garden shrubs are a potential danger to goats.
  • Some plants cause delayed poisoning as well as immediate poisoning eg ragwort and St John’s wort.
  • Some plants are equally toxic when fresh or when dried in hay eg ragwort.
Plants that cause diarrhoea:
  • Hemlock
  • Oak (young leaves)
  • Wild arum
  • Castor seed (in foodstuffs)
  • Foxglove
  • Water dropwort
  • Box
  • Potato (green)
  • Rhododendron
  • Linseed
Plants that cause haemorrhage

Bracken fern

Plants that cause nervous signs:
  • Ragwort
  • Hemlock
  • Water dropwort
  • Potato
  • Black nightshade
  • Male fern
  • Rhododendron
  • Laburnum
  • Rape
  • Rhubarb
  • Common sorrel
  • Prunus family
Plants that cause photosensitisation:
  • Ragwort
  • St John’s wort
  • Buckwheat
Plants that cause sudden death:
  • Yew
  • Rhododendron
  • Laurel
  • Linseed
  • Foxglove
  • Water dropwort
Plants that cause frothy bloat:
  • Legumes -clover, lucerne
Plants that case anaemia:
  • Rape
  • Kale
Plants that cause constipation:
  • Oak (acorns and old leaves)
  • Linseed
Plants that cause vomiting:
  • Rhododendron
  • Azalea
  • Pieris
  • Black nightshade
  • Gladiolus corms
  • Daffodil bulbs
Plants that cause goitre and stillbirth:
  • Brassica spp
  • Linseed
  • Some clovers
Plants that case oestrus:
  • Some clovers
Plants that discolour urine:
  • Bracken
  • Oak
  • Rape
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel sprouts
British Goat Society list the following plants to be a danger to goats under certain circumstances:

Mayweed, Old man’s beard, Charlock, Bryony, Woody nightshade, Deadly nightshade, Honeysuckle, Fool’s parsley, Buttercup, Anemone, Less celandine, Bulbs and their leaves eg daffodil, tulip, aconite, etc, Walnut and Oak.

Treatment of plant poisoning in goats
  • Remove the plant from the goat - empty its mouth if possible.
  • Keep the goat walking slowly so that it doesn’t settle and start cudding.
  • Give large quantities of strong cold tea. The tannic acids will precipitate many of the alkaloids and salts of heavy metals. Strong coffee will have similar effects.
  • Don’t dose a vomiting goat.
  • Don’t give tea to a goat that has been poisoned with acorns that are full of tannic acid already.
  • Give large doses of liquid paraffin (500ml) as a first aid remedy.
  • Treat for shock - keep quiet and warm.
  • Try to identify the source of poison to tell the vet.
  • Give a mixture of eggs, sugar and milk to soothe and relieve irritation of the stomach linings.
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