Category Archives: Handy Tips

Whorled Milkweed. (Asclepias verticillata): VERY TOXIC – this is what killed the 19 mustangs!






Take a really good look…

Whorled Milkweed.  Look familiar?

Whorled Milkweed. Look familiar?

I’m not sure if any of you read about he 19 mustangs in the BLM Prison facility in Canon City, Colorado who fell ill and died…

Well, it turns out that their round bales included Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata).  This weed is what killed them.

So sad and so fast!

These horses were down almost immediately.

Take another look – and then tell me that you recognize it.

I do.

If you see it in your hay, DO NOT FEED IT.

I don't know why the horses ate it... maybe it masks its poison to smell and taste.  dunno

I don’t know why the horses ate it… maybe it masks its poison to smell and taste. dunno

Screen Shot 2013-01-08 at 6.35.11 PM

milkweed

VERY COMMON

This weed pops up on the edges of fields and along roads.  It is very hearty and thrives…

Asclepias verticillata L.

Whorled milkweed, Eastern whorled milkweed

Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed Family)

USDA Symbol: ASVE

USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.

Whorled milkweed is a single-stemmed, unbranched perennial, 1-3 ft. tall. The narrow, linear leaves are whorled along the stem. Small, greenish-white flowers occur in flat-topped clusters on the upper part of the stem.

Because of its toxicity to livestock, this plant is considered a weed in range areas.

I’m sure this kind of thing is why hay farmers spray…  Clearly, whomever was buying the hay for these BLM horses wasn’t using a reputable hay distributor.

So sad.

I guess for the locals, this was bittersweet news.  Their water wasn’t contaminated, but their wild horses died.

Another angle...

Another angle…

NEWS ARTICLE

I found this article…

CANON CITY — Authorities have determined a noxious weed likely caused 19 wild horses to become ill and die at the East Canon Prison Complex where they are cared for by inmates until they find new homes.
According to BLM spokeswoman Lauren Gapinski, the ingestion of whorled milkweed, a highly-toxic plant, is suspected to have caused the deaths based on preliminary lab results issued from the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Colorado State University. The weed was in the hay fed to the horses.

The BLM has been working to probe the cause of the illness that killed 11 horses Dec. 3 and another 8 on Dec. 4. Some of the horses died on their own while others had to be euthanized due to their conditions.
This week, nine of the horses also in the same pen that exhibited similar symptoms have recovered or are recovering quickly.

whorled-milkweed

ANOTHER VIEW

FROM A VET WHO IS A READER

I must admit that when I first saw this report, I had to look up whorled milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) in my copy of A Field Guide to Common Animal Poisons. Milkweed contains cardiac glycosides, the natural substances from which heart medications like digoxin are derived. When ingested in toxic doses, the cardiac glycosides in milkweed stop the heart from beating normally. Very often, poisoned animals are simply found dead, but symptoms like diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, weakness, unsteadiness when walking, collapse, and seizures may be noted in more mildly affected horses (or other species, for that matter).

MONARCH BUTTERFLY CATERPILLAR eats this weed to protect itself from being eaten.  Smart.  Ol' Mother Nature at work.

MONARCH BUTTERFLY CATERPILLAR eats this weed to protect itself from being eaten. Smart. Ol’ Mother Nature at work.

 

THIS JUST IN FROM A READER WHO IS A BIOLOGIST!

As a biologist, I am actively involved in protecting species at risk. Here in Arizona, we have recently become aware that the Monarch Butterfly uses our rivers and streams as over-wintering and way-station habitat. Many are trying to help them survive and thrive, and the use of various milkweed species in landscaping and revegetation settings is encouraged. Obviously, it should be eradicated near forage crops, however! Readers of Horse and Man should be encouraged to appreciate milkweed in appropriate settings because of its benefit to Monarchs (as well as several other butterfly and moth species that are at risk), but as noted in the article, be diligent in keeping it out of forage crops and the hay we feed our horses and livestock.

All the best,

 Diana

Environmental Program Manager (my “daytime job”)

Animal welfare activist (my full-time “passion”)

 

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foal baling twine

Today is the day of the big auction! They think they have enough money to buy them all! We are now working on transportation money!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LUCKY HAS HER BRACES!! REVIEW DAY #1!






This is Lucky, our Bucket Fund Filly from November...

This is Lucky, our Bucket Fund Filly from November…

Our Bucket fund filly from November, Lucky, has her new braces!

In case you missed her story, it is linked here.

Lucky was born with club feet.  Instead of giving her the much needed surgery as a foal, she was instead locked in a stall for 3 years…

Upon first looks at Lucky, her rescuers (SEALS Care and Rescue) thought the best future for her would be humane euthanasia.

However, surprise surprise, the filly showed so much gumption with her bucking, rearing, trotting and traveling very well,  the rescuers fell in love with her joy for life – and decided to give her a chance.

Luckily, you readers thought this she was a worthy cause and donated towards the fee to have her braces created!

Even with those feet, her new found freedom had her running, bucking and rearing!  This girl was not hindered!

Even with those feet, her new found freedom had her running, bucking and rearing! This girl was not hindered – except for the long term misuse of her back and hind end…

 

HOW DO BRACES WORK?

The braces are used to help support her shoulder and create proper length of leg which evens out her spine normally.  In this way, with practice, she will build up her shoulder muscles which in turn will help her hips and back to align comfortably.

Her hooves are not asked to straighten.  Instead, the braces conform to the underturned hooves and add cushion, impact resistance and length.  So, she is still landing on her hoof, but the concussion is far less.  And, the accommodating contortion of her back will go away.

As you can see, they put a 4-Leaf Clover on the bottom of Lucky’s braces… Nice!

Her feet keep their position inside of the braces.

Her feet keep their position inside of the braces.

The braces add support, cushion and length so that her back can return to proper alignment - and so that her shoulder muscles can work properly.

The braces add support, cushion and length so that her back can return to proper alignment – and so that her shoulder muscles can work properly.

 

The bottom of her braces have hearts in the shape of a LUCKY 4-leaf clover.  Nice!

The bottom of her braces have hearts in the shape of a LUCKY 4-leaf clover. Nice!

 

 

TODAY WAS THE FIRST DAY!

Today was her first day with the new braces and she did well!  At first, she was unsure… she took some very clumsy steps and then she got the hang of it!

Lucky can only wear them 2 hours at a time until she works up to all day use.   Usually, this process take about two months.

Lucky feels comfortable enough to move around the arena and meet the TV crew onhand to record this historic day!

Lucky feels comfortable enough to move around the arena and meet the TV crew onhand to record this historic day!

 

She moves in on Lori's husband to ask for treats...

She moves in on Lori’s husband to ask for treats…

 

VIDEOS

Lori from SEAL took video and photos of this historic day.

And, the Film Crew from the local news did a very nice piece.  Wow – A celebrity!  Click here to watch the local news about Lucky.

I’ve posted two of Lori’s videos for you.

The first video shows how Lucky didn’t know what to do at first.  Be warned – this is scary to watch in the beginning because you think she is going to hurt herself.  But, she doesn’t…

Click this image to see her first steps!  (Kinda scary at first but she does great!)

Click this image to see her first steps! (Kinda scary at first but she does great!)

The next video shows her settling in and walking straight towards Lori really quickly!

I’m sure we will receive continual videos of her progress.

Wow!

Lucky’s life is about to change in a big way!  (big grin…)

Click this image to watch Lucky getting the hang of it!

Click this image to watch Lucky getting the hang of it!

 

Lori and Lucky...  This filly certainly is Lucky considering that a few months ago, she was skinny, stuck indoors and standing in years of manure.  Today she checks out the devices that will enable her to really kick up a storm!

Lori and Lucky… This filly certainly is Lucky considering that a few months ago, she was skinny, stuck indoors and standing in years of manure. Today she checks out the devices that will enable her to really kick up a storm!

 

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January Bucket Fund - rescuing and transporting the 41 Virginia Range horses to lands where they can start a new life!

January Bucket Fund – rescuing and transporting the 41 Virginia Range horses to lands where they can start a new life!

 

 

 

Copyright

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Supporting The Bucket Fund through Amazon Smile
Please choose HORSE AND MAN, INC when you shop via Amazon Smile through this link.


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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!