Just a warning about horses digesting Persimmons that I was forwarded in an email today. I figured that I would pass it on! I had no idea that they were so harmful for horses.
"WARNING!!!!! Persimmons Lethal to Equines!!!!!!!!!!!
From Another Chance for Horses
A Warning on Persimmons and Horses: Our family has just lost two horses this week and 3 others are sick. We did not know that Persimmon fruit was lethal to horses. Here are a few Email excerpts from my wife on the details of what happened. While searching the Web, I found a similar string on Persimmons at this site and decided to continue getting the word out. Please advise everyone to check their pastures for persimmon trees. This year is a bumper crop in Alpharetta, Georgia. All of the animals in my pasture have been very sick and two horses have spent the 10 days at UGA. We now know that Persimmons can be very toxic to horses. They can cause a blockage in the intestines and the seeds are toxic. When they remain in the system to long they cause all kinds of problems you don't want to deal with. Look up, chances are the horses eat the fruit as soon as it hits the ground. It has been about three weeks since my horse has ingested any fruit and he is still sick, I am very concerned that other horses in the area are ingesting this fruit as well. First signs of persimmon poisoning I noticed was that my horse seemed lethargic and later he was not interested in food then he went into a colic. It is my understanding that small quantities of this fruit is not harmful but this year the trees are full of fruit. If you suspect your horse has eaten to many persimmons call a vet and have him oiled immediately. The longer the seed remains in his system the sicker he will get.
UPDATE: This is what we have learned about persimmons. There is not much information out there. Two of the best vets in the Atlanta area knew nothing about persimmons other than horses shouldn't eat'em, not to mention the UGA staff knew nothing at the onset of our treatment. The number of persimmons our horses ingested is uncertain. An article I read said that 33 to 35 persimmons can cause a horse to develop a blockage. We have an 8 acre pasture with really great grass. There were 4 average sized ( 6 inch in diameter at the trunk) persimmon trees in the back of the pasture. The trees have been in this pasture forever. I do not know if this year the fruit was any different than in years past. We did find some information on line added to the autopsy results of Duster we now know what happened. The persimmon fruit forms a ball of skin seeds and mucous which hardens into a concrete textured mass in the stomach or it could be anywhere in their system. This ball has the texture of concrete with the sharp persimmon seeds embedded in it. After the mass has formed it can not be broken down with oil or any kind medication. Oiling is recommended if the horse has just ingested the seeds in order to move them on out of the body. In our case we found out a few weeks to late. The autopsy could not even show where the ball was because it ripped everything up inside Dusters body. Horses that are developing this may loose weight and show slight sign of colic, stretching and lethargy in the beginning. Duster would feel better and try to eat but digestion would make the seed mass move and cause further damage his stomach. This seed mass can become very large, after the mass forms only surgery can save the horse. Smaller masses can pass into the intestines and cause damage and blockage. Our horse Bruce is undergoing surgery at this very moment. By scoping him we have learned that his mass is at least the size of a grapefruit. UGA gave him a 50% chance. We should know the result this afternoon. We also have a mini pony (Cocoa) and two mini Donkeys (Nester and Brownie) who have been showing signs of pain over the last three weeks. They will be scoped at UGA this week to see how big the seed mass is. If it is small we will treat it with oil and laxatives. If the mass is large, our little ones will have to be put down on Friday.
UPDATE: Bruce was operated on yesterday and they found a basketball size mass of seeds and hard as concrete. The incision was so large to remove the mass that his doctor recommended that we put him down. I have been told that this is a very rare situation. But I believe it is one of those conditions that have been misdiagnosed for many years. The persimmon trees have been in the south forever. When horses ingest persimmons they do not die immediately, they form this seed mass which acts like a time bomb. Unless the horse has an autopsy the cause of death will always be a mystery. Please tell everyone you know about the risk of leaving persimmon trees in your pasture.Thank you so much for helping me get this information out. There has never been a horse with more heart than my Duster. He will be missed by all.
UPDATE: We took our last animals (a pony & amp; two min donkeys) to have them scoped today. They all have masses in their stomachs. They have been showing similar signs or symptoms, however they don't seem to be in pain at this time."
For more information see: http://jvdi.org/cgi/reprint/9/3/311.pdf