Author Topic: Toxic Red maple  (Read 107 times)

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Offline Snafflebit

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Toxic Red maple
« on: May 17, 2017, 03:45:18 PM »
this is a new one on me though perhaps not to others - we have several Red Maples on our property but all in pots & away from the equines - they are attractive plants which I would have been inclined to plant more extensively were it not for their high water requirements....

 Red maple

Researchers have known that wilted red maple leaves can be toxic to horses, but they now suggest that other species, such as sugar and silver maple, might be problematic as well.

Danger to horses While research on the mechanism behind red maple poisoning is ongoing, scientists believe the toxic agent is linked to levels of gallic acid, which increase in leaves throughout the summer. The leaves in combination with certain bacteria produce a strong oxidant that damages horses’ red blood cells, hindering their ability to carry oxygen or destroying them completely. “A lot of horses die from it, but some survive with intensive care,” says Bischoff. Clinical signs include loss of appetite, red urine, increased drinking and urination, and a generally depressed state. To be affected, an average-sized horse would need to consume an estimated 1.5-3.3 pounds of wilted leaves.

Risk of exposure “Red maple poisoning … happens mostly in the late summer and early fall,” says Bischoff. Fallen branches in a paddock following a storm are the most common source of exposure, with wilted leaves remaining toxic for as long as 30 days. Bored or curious, a horse might strip the leaves off and eat them. Scientists believe the bark is also toxic.