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In the last 25 years, ragweed has spread rapidly, especially in steep terrain and on pastures that are rarely mowed. The plant is very dangerous, especially since the poisoning has not been treated so far.

Animals usually avoid ragwort

toxicity

All parts of the plant are highly toxic to both animals and humans. The toxins are also effective when dried in hay or silage. Blossoms and young plants have the highest concentration of hazardous substances. Normally, animals avoid the poisonous plant, but if it is widespread and in the first year of growth (rosette stage), the plant is often eaten as well. Dried in the hay, the cattle no longer differentiate and ingest the highly toxic feed.

effect of the poison

Ragwort contains so-called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA), which are metabolized in the liver to toxic products. The ingredients work:

  • severe liver damage
  • can cause liver cancer
  • harmful to both the genome and the embryo.

Symptoms of ragwort poisoning

The initially occurring stomach and intestinal problems are often not associated with the consumption of the plant. Severe liver damage occurs in acute poisoning, and the poisoning can be fatal.

Horses and cattle are particularly sensitive to the poison of the jacaobs groundsel. Sheep and goats and small animals are also at risk. Treatment of the animals is futile in the case of both acute and chronic poisoning.

symptoms in horses

Horses lose a lot of weight because they refuse to eat. In addition, there are often colic, bloody diarrhea or constipation. Uncoordinated movements, photosensitivity, yellowing of the lid conjunctiva due to liver damage or blindness can also be observed. The lethal dose is between 40 and 80 grams of fresh ragwort, depending on the animal's body weight.

symptoms in cattle

Here, a reduced milk yield is noticeable at first. The cattle refuse the feed and lose weight as a result. An abnormally full rumen, watery or bloody diarrhea and lethargy alternating with sudden excitement characterize the further course of the poisoning. The lethal dose is 140 grams of fresh ragwort per kilogram of the animal's weight.

intoxication in humans

The poisoning only leads to liver diseases in humans after weeks or even years. Often these are no longer associated with the intake of ragwort.

tips

The hay from contaminated areas is no longer suitable as animal feed due to the toxicity of ragwort and must be destroyed or composted.

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