Australian Weeds and Livestock


By recognizing the common poisonous plants in your area, and implementing a grazing regime or removing the plants, you can avoid many animal losses. This will also avoid risks to your pets, and your children. Many plants included cause allergies and skin reactions to humans, as well as more dramatic effects.

Check the relevant Data Pages for the animal species and symptoms. This will enable you to decide any further action.

Wilting, and sometimes herbicide use, can make the plants more toxic when eaten. Sometimes exercise (or being driven), or even having a drink of water can make the plant toxins more effective.

Plant toxins causing sudden death include:

Cyanide or HCN
Nitrates or nitrites (brown blood on post mortem)
Oxalates (kidney damage, and/or dehydration)
Cardiac glycocides, (heart failure)
Pyrrolizidine and toxins causing acute liver failure

If you suspect animals have been poisoned, or find a group of dead and sick animals, seek veterinary advice.

You will need a history of the animals’ exposure to any suspected plants, either growing in the paddock, or something fed to them from the garden, as well as a description of the symptoms, ie:

Chronic ill-thrift
Diarrhoea or gastro-enteritis
Neurological problems, tremors, behavior changes, peculiar walk
Respiratory distress or chronic pneumonia
Haemmorhage, or bleeding from body openings, or under the skin
Skin disorders, blistered skin and a scabby face, swellings, hair loss dermatitis
Abortion, deformed foetus

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