diarrhea, and if the horse is especially uncomfortable it will also refuse
feed entirely. In the most extreme cases it is possible for a broodmare to abort
a foal. Keep in mind that not only horses but also other grazing animals, such
as sheep, goats and cattle may be infected. Death of adult animals is
If you are looking at your pasture, you will want to keep an
eye on the red clover, which is a common host for this fungus. White clover -
and other types of clover - as well as alfalfa are oftentimes infected. Look for
small black patches on the leaves – you may need a microscope to diagnose this
condition for sure. This fungus will experience the most growth during very
Yet it is not just the pasture that you will need to be concerned about. If
hay is baled from pastures that host this fungus, then the alkaloid will proceed
into the bales. It is very disconcerting that the toxic effects of the fungus
will linger for as much as several years. When speaking to your veterinarian
about the symptoms you observe, she or he may refer to them as SLUD, which is an
acronym of salivation, lacrimation, urination, and defecation.
You will be able to see the first symptoms within one hour after ingesting
the infected legume, and the length of the symptoms may be as long-lasting as
three days. To counteract the effects of the fungus, it is best to curtail the
feeding of hay and remove the animals from the affected pasture immediately.
While treatment is not usually needed, an extended display of symptoms might
warrant a call to the veterinarian. Treating your pasture is more difficult.
Fungicides only yield limited success, and it is best to discuss this issue with
an expert in the field who will be able to make sound recommendations for your