When we think of equine poison prevention we often think of preventing our horses from eating toxic plants, but what else in our barns could be harmful?
1. Pest and Weed Control Products
Insecticides, herbicides, and fertilizers should all be stored away from the barn or in a location that is not accessible to a horse that Houdinis its way out of the stall or pasture. Reduce risk by going green. Use herbal fly sprays (be sure to check ingredients as some may still be toxic), beneficial insects and insect traps.
2. Lead Poisoning
While lead based paint has not been manufactured since 1978, farms with older barns may still have lead based paint on wood services. Using reclaimed wood for barn projects and decor is all the rage, but they could be laced with lead paint. Horses chewing on these surfaces can get lead poising. Farm equipment, junk piles, and car batteries are just a few of the other things around the barn that may contain lead. Horses licking these items can get lead poisoning.
3. Moldy Hay
Always inspect a new bale upon opening. Moldy hay produces mycotoxins which are harmful. Consuming these toxins can result in weight loss, abortions, and colic. Moldy hay can be spotty, have a rotten smell, and likely be warm or hot on the inside.
4. Rodent Control Agents
Many mouse and rat poison pellets are grain based and yummy to horses. Consider other methods of controlling rodents like barn cats and live traps.
5. Contaminated Water
Water can become contaminated from decomposing hay and grass that has fallen into the buckets or troughs. Rodent droppings, dead insects, and stagnant water growing algae can all contribute to water contamination. To prevent contamination water buckets should be emptied of any remaining water and filled with fresh water daily. Buckets should be scrubbed clean and disinfected weekly. Troughs should be cleaned on regular basis. Improve trough cleanliness by adding goldfish to help control algae and eat dead insects.