There are many varieties of "Locoweed", and although they all look strikingly similar, only a few specific varieties are actually poisonous to horses.
The compound "swainsonine" is found in some types of Locoweed, and when ingested will cause swelling in the nervous system of horses, causing a myriad of symptoms. Locoweed can also cause an overdose of Selenium in a horses system, causing it's own specific symptoms.
Some of the Signs and Symptoms of Locoweed poisoning may be:
- Aimless Wandering
- Excessive salivation
- Lack of coordination
- Troubles with vision
- Miscarriages in mares
If you suspect your horse has ingested Locoweed, it is very important to promptly contact your licensed equine veterinarian. They may need to administer sedatives, tranquilizers, IV fluids, laxatives, and/or other supportive therapy to help your horse pass the toxins quickly, and with minimal damage.
If a horse is able to recover from Locoweed poisoning, the process is generally quite slow, and some symptoms may linger for extended periods of time.