Is this buttercup burn? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-08-2020, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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Is this buttercup burn?

Yesterday I noticed my mare had broken out in these raw looking sores along one side of her mouth. It is not blistered, weeping or oozing, just very raw.



The shiny look in the picture is because I had just applied some neosporin antibiotic ointment to it. It doesn't seem to be particularly painful for her, but it looks very uncomfortable. In real life, it looks a lot more red and raw than it does in the picture.

There are definitely a smattering of buttercups in our pasture, though the pasture itself is in decent shape after having ~6 months resting before the horses went back out on it 3 weeks ago. I looked closely today and there do seem to be some patches of buttercup where stems have been nibbled.

Neither of my other two mares have these sores, though one is all of a sudden having runny diarrhea, which I understand can also be associated with eating buttercups. I've read that horses won't usually eat them unless they are "close to starving," which these horses certainly aren't. In addition to the decent pasture, I keep hay they like out in nets all day, so they have other options if they're actually hungry.

We also have "poison parsnip" here. This is the first year I've ever seen it in our pastures, and we used a topical weed killer on it about two weeks before the horses had access to the pasture. It also grows along the roads, and I do sometimes let my mare grab a few mouthfuls of grass while we're out riding-however, the poison parsnip is very noticeable, and I'm really paranoid about it, so I think it would be unlikely for her to accidentally eat it along the road. Also, getting into that weed tends to cause weeping, oozing sores and that's not what's happening here.

Anyone ever dealt with buttercup poisoning? Does this look similar? If so, how did you treat it? Will weedwhacking the plants down take care of the problem?
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-08-2020, 12:46 PM
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I'd say plant reaction and if buttercup are numerous then most likely though in my experience it blisters and then gets oozy before scabbing.

Control is easiest by bushhogging in the short term and keeping horses off until the cut portion dries. The oils evaporate quickly. Tilling then takes care of patches that develop.
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-14-2020, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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@QtrBel , thank you for the reply- I thought I had responded but just now realize the internet ate that post.

At any rate, this sore I posted above has pretty much healed up. It got a little scabby for a couple of days, and now it's just smooth skin without any redness or irritation. Hopefully hair will start filling back in.

On Sunday, a second mare was covered in hives all along her right barrel and flank, and by Monday the left side had a few hives as well. It could have been a bad reaction to biting flies, which are absolutely horrific this year, but taking no more chances in case it was also plant reaction, I closed off the pasture completely and they were kept in the dry lot with extra hay since Monday morning.

It has been rainy and humid so hard to brushog, but we got a break in the weather yesterday afternoon and were able to finally mow down the pasture and run the weedwhacker along all the fencelines. We got a heavy rain overnight last night which I figured would probably do a good job of washing away any sap or residue from the plants. More rain throughout the day so hopefully I can get them back out as they don't love being cooped up.

I've never had anything like this happen before and really can't understand why they are actively eating the buttercup. Everything I've read says horses avoid it unless they are starving because it is bitter and unpalatable, yet from looking closely while mowing around the plants it's clear they are eating the flowers and stems- right next to patches of green grass. Hopefully we've got it under control now and we'll have no more skin issues this summer.
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-14-2020, 11:21 AM
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The only other reason is that it is providing something they are missing. For us we had years that a couple of the horses would eat the tips off of the junipers and strip the bark. Sulphur blocks and vit C added stopped it.



The oils are volitile and dissipate quickly. I assume they would also wash out.
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-14-2020, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QtrBel View Post
The only other reason is that it is providing something they are missing.
Hmmm...good point. Now to figure out what that could be
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-14-2020, 11:39 AM
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Or boredom and the need for attention.....

Some horse people change their horse, they change their tack and discipline, they change their instructor; they never change themselves.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-14-2020, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Could be! Two retirees and only one ridden. They are spending most of the day hiding in their sheds because of flies. I hate summer!!!
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