Apparently dandelions aren't just weeds... - Page 2

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Apparently dandelions aren't just weeds...

This is a discussion on Apparently dandelions aren't just weeds... within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    02-24-2010, 05:20 PM
Yeah, they are good for everyone! (Except grass!) I pick them and feed them to my turtle and guinea pig. My turtle loooves the heads, and my guinea pig loves the stems and leaves.
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    02-24-2010, 06:40 PM
Okay, done some reading. Dandelion and false-dandelion caused stringhalt is mainly in Australia though I ahve found a few places where people refer to it in certain parts of America, Oregon being one.

Here is an excerpt from an article by Dr John Kohnke BVSc RDA:

Although the Stringhalt condition, as occurs in other countries can be caused by neurological damage to the hind limb nerves by
Microbial infections and trauma, Australian Stringhalt and its seasonal occurrence is more specific to Australia and New
Zealand, especially following drought conditions. Often it affects specific localities or geographical areas due to favourable
Seasonal conditions. Research in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s in Australia and New Zealand was carried out to find the
Possible cause for the damaging effect on the long nerves of the hind limbs and neck. These studies concluded that horses
Grazing pasture dominated with the weed known as Catsear or Flatweed (Hypochoeris radicata) were associated with seasonal
Outbreaks of Stringhalt. Ingestion of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has also been linked to outbreaks of stringhalt.
The type of nerve damage suggests a soil borne fungus or mould toxin (‘mycotoxin’) that grows on Flatweed, which
When ingested specifically affects the long myelinated nerves in the hind limbs and also the long left Recurrent Laryngeal
Nerve in the neck. Severe cases develop the characteristic ‘goose-stepping’ gait and often a ‘roaring’ like sound when
Exercised due to collapse of the left laryngeal structure.
Apparently it involves other factors, I.e. Drought conditions, which we have a lot of.

I still wouldn't feed it to my horses.
    02-24-2010, 06:47 PM
This is interesting!

Here is a comment on a forum (Obviously may not be true but still interesting):

We live in SC in an area that has been dealing with severe drought conditions for 2 years now. Our pastures dry up pretty bad in the summer and the horses don't have much to graze so we have to give hay all year round. Because the grass dries up, we have more weeds. Last year our very healthy TB mare which we have had for 4 years started to have this weird flexion in the back legs. To make a long story short, she was diagnosed with stringhalt. I took her to Tryon Equine in NC. She spent 3 weeks there as she was being treated for an eye ulcer. The stringhalt got worse there where she had difficulty walking forwad and was totally unable to back up. I have done alot of research and spoken to everyone I can find, veterinay hospitals, toxicologist, herbalist, other horse owners, the extension agencies. I was told that there are 2 types of stringhalt. One just happens and its a neurological disorder that can be confused with EPM or shivers. The other has the same symptoms but is caused by a toxin. I found out that some horses just start to eat too many dandelions when there is nothing else for them to eat in a field. Once they have aquired a taste for it , they eat it all the time.
I had 4 horses in one field, one came down with the stringhalt. One vet said that it was impossible for the dandelions to cause this becuase dandelions are everywhere in every field and all horses eat it. I was recommend to do surgery on our TB before leaving the hospital where a tendon is severed. She has the most beautiful gaits and I wanted to see if it was really a toxin or a neurological disorder. Well, I got the mare off the dandellions and within 3 months it started to clear up and she is back 100%.
Nine months ago I rescued another TB mare, I had her in a dry lot with no lameness. Three weeks ago I put her in a larger field that had the dandellions. This week she started with the stringhalt. I am putting her back in the dry lot today and I am spraying again. This tells me that it is the weeds as this mare got sick after she ate the weeds for 3 weeks. You might have one horse in the herd to get it, the rest might be fine. I think that the reason is that one horse probably eats more weeds. My advice is, check your pastures, get rid of the weeds, if your horse has stringhalt, GET THE HORSE OFF THE WEEDS, wait a few months and see if it clears up before you go doing surgery. Stringhalt is a rare condition but I think that due to the climate change in our region, we are seeing more of it. It has been frustrating because at this time none of the equine hospitals are interested in studying the problem. Unfortunately, there is only speculations, no medication, not a whole lot of help out there.
And a quote from the Merck Veterinary Manual online:

Stringhalt ( Stringhalt) in horses is characterized by brisk, involuntary flexion of one or both pelvic limbs during the protraction phase of the gait. Severity ranges from a mild jerk in the limb to flexion so severe that the affected horse can hardly walk. There may be atrophy of the muscles in the distal aspect of the affected limb(s). Stringhalt is seen in 2 forms. Ordinary or classic stringhalt is seen sporadically throughout the world, usually as a unilateral problem in individual horses. The cause is unknown. Some cases resolve spontaneously, while long digital extensor tenectomy is effective in others. Australian stringhalt is seen in outbreaks that affect multiple horses in a region and often affects both pelvic limbs. Horses in Australia, New Zealand, and the USA have been affected, usually in late summer or autumn. Australian stringhalt is associated with ingestion of Australian dandelion, European dandelion, and mallow, perhaps due to mycotoxins affecting these plants. Pathologically, the distal aspect of axons in the peroneal and tibial nerves degenerates. Horses with Australian stringhalt usually recover spontaneously when removed from offending pastures.
    02-25-2010, 10:40 AM
I do not think most of us feed them to our horses. They grow where our horses graze.

I think it still might be a different plant (what we have at least vs. what you have). And, at least in my part of the world though it might get dry every now and again, we for sure do not have drought issues.

In other words, I do not think everyone on here needs to panic if there is some dandelions in their pasture.
    02-25-2010, 04:27 PM
^ That's the case when these horses get stringhalt as well.

Of course i'm not saying to panic - I'm just saying it might NOT be good to encourage the eating of them. I am also aware that the conditions are different in a lot of places in the US. All I am saying is they MAY be a risk, so be careful. Even if I were in a place that was never in drought (I wish!) I wuld still spray dandelions just to be safe.
    02-25-2010, 04:29 PM
Originally Posted by wild_spot    
I wuld still spray dandelions just to be safe.
How does one kill dandelions with out killing every other broad leaf vegetation in their field?
    02-25-2010, 05:33 PM
I think id rather let my horses eat the weeds, then worry about them ingesting chemicals from the weed killer. They will come back year after year, and spread so fast its almost impossible to get rid of them.
    02-25-2010, 05:50 PM
Green Broke
Yes and they are very good for horses, they like a bit of variation in their diet
    02-25-2010, 06:06 PM
I think it seems that dandelion is not okay in excess....but that in moderation it's fine....just like some things that we eat are good for us in moderation, but could make us sick if we ate too much as well...makes sense.
    02-25-2010, 07:00 PM
I have no idea, my dad does the spraying, but the spray he uses kills pattersons curse, mustard weed, dandelions, etc.

I think id rather let my horses eat the weeds, then worry about them ingesting chemicals from the weed killer.
?? Weed sprays have a time specified before you can put stock in the paddock - We always leave a few days on top of that - There is no trace of the chemicals in the paddock when they go back in, only good pasture and no weeds.

They will come back year after year, and spread so fast its almost impossible to get rid of them.
This is what spraying stops :] Our paddocks look 10X better than they did before we started spraying - hardly any weeds and a good amount of varied healthy pasture.

I think it seems that dandelion is not okay in excess....but that in moderation it's fine....just like some things that we eat are good for us in moderation, but could make us sick if we ate too much as well...makes sense.
I don't think it's the dandelions themselves - Apparently it is a bacteria/toxin that grows on/in the plant - So if the plants don't have this toxin growing then they are harmless, but if they do, then I would guess any amount could do the damage.

Personally, not a chance I choose to take.

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