OUCH! Stinging Nettles
Stinging nettles are harmful to horses, as the hairs and bristles that cover their stems and leaves contain formic acid and other irritants. When horses eat or come in contact with the plant, their skin can become red, swollen, and itchy.
When a horse touches stinging nettles, it causes an almost instant burning sensation on the skin. The area may become red and swollen, and the burning feeling can last several hours after contact with the plant. If
ingested, it can cause significant irritation to the throat and stomach lining, leading to colic-like symptoms such as abdominal pain and excessive salivation.
Stinging nettles appear throughout North America. They typically grow near water sources such as rivers, streams, and lakes, where they are sheltered from direct sunlight. During certain times of the year, they may also appear near pastures or gardens, which can be harder to spot.
If your horse has been exposed to stinging nettles, you should look for symptoms such as small raised bumps on their skin that are colored red or pinkish-brown. You should also check for hair loss or swelling around the mouth area. If you notice any of these signs, contact your local equine vet immediately, as they can provide further advice on how best to treat your horse’s condition.