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Discussion on Is Eucalyptus toxic?

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Liz R.
Posted on Tuesday, Apr 6, 1999 - 6:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Has anyone heard of Eucalyptus being toxic to horses? My horse colicked a few weeks ago the same day that my neighbors cut their eucalyptus trees and I thought maybe there was a corrolation between the two.
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Marlane
Posted on Tuesday, Apr 6, 1999 - 6:55 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have Eucalyptus trees on my property and the leaves are all over the ground in some areas.My horses do not eat the leaves as they probably do not taste good being high in aromatic oils.May be if a horse ate a lot of them it would cause colic,usually colic happens becuase a horse is not drinking enough water or is eating sand by mistake.
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Moon
Posted on Tuesday, Apr 6, 1999 - 6:56 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Colic can hapen for lots of reasons. Was the horse able to eat any of the trimmings? If so it could have caused it. I would think if your vet did a tube that you might have been able to smell the eucaliptus through the tube, my friend had a horse that decided to eat the evergreen trees untill she colic and when they tubed her you could smell a strong evergreen odor! As far as actually toxic, I always though it was but you might want to call a nursury and see if they know for sure.
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Aimee
Member
Username: Sumnera

Post Number: 15
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Apr 30, 2003 - 11:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to add to it in case there was anyone out there who was concerned about Eucalyptus trees.

I live on the central coast of California where Eucalyptus trees are very common. The boarding stable where I keep my horses is surrounded by them. The leaves, twigs, branches and pods all fall into the corrals and occasionally the water troughs. Some horses chew the bark on the trees. We've never had a horse poisoned or any other problems related to the presence of Eucalyptus trees.
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kerry
Member
Username: parfait

Post Number: 139
Registered: 5-2001
Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 1:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O,

There's some confusion over the Eucalyptus cladocalyx (it's native to Australia but common in CA and Hawaii). I have seen on several sites that it's one of the plants that converts to cyanide if dried or crushed. This site is the best: http://www.ivis.org/special_books/Knight/chap1/ivis.pdf
Anyway, I was searching as my gelding has a huge tree over his run and it dropped a bunch of leaves recently (which are now gone) and all of his legs are swollen. He also has midline edema. I was wondering if that was the cause as I couldn't think of any other reason for it. I have also read some stuff about poisoning Aussie cattle...

Can you help on this? The horse is not used to eating this plant. My local vet didn't know as we have one of the few in AZ.
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cindy O'DELL
Member
Username: zarr

Post Number: 564
Registered: 6-2000
Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 6:07 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

kerry, there are homemade fly spray reciepes that use eucalyptus oil so I sure hope not will check more for sure now. cindy
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 18465
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 9:04 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello kerry,
I don't think peripheral edema, a common problem in horses, is a likely primary symptom of cyanide poisoning. For more information on edema and swelling and its diagnosis see, Diseases of Horses » Skin Diseases, Wounds, and Swellings » Swellings / Localized Infection / Abscesses » Diagnosing and Assessing Swellings in Horses.

Here is a review of the cyanogenic potential of Eucalyptus. Unfortunately it does not give us the potential for poisoning in horses and I cannot find any case reports. There is a report of poisoning in a herd of goats.
DrO

Tree Physiol. 2000 May;20(9):591-598.
Temporal and spatial variation in cyanogenic glycosides in Eucalyptus cladocalyx.
Gleadow RM, Woodrow IE.
School of Botany, University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.

The release of hydrogen cyanide from endogenous cyanide-containing compounds in plants is an effective herbivore deterrent. We investigated temporal and spatial variations in cyanogenic glycoside concentration in greenhouse-grown seedlings and 6-year-old plantation trees of Eucalyptus cladocalyx F. Muell., which allocates up to 20% of leaf nitrogen to the cyanogenic glycoside, prunasin. The highest cyanogenic glycoside concentrations were in the young, developing vegetative and reproductive tissues. Both the overall cyanogenic glycoside concentration and the proportion of nitrogen allocated to cyanogenic glycoside decreased as tissues matured. Cyanogenic glycoside and nitrogen concentrations were similar at all positions on the leaf blade. There was no change in concentration of cyanogenic glycosides either diurnally or following wounding of the tissue, suggesting that these compounds are constitutive. Cyanogenic glycoside concentration varied seasonally in young leaf tips of field-grown E. cladocalyx, but not in mature, fully expanded leaves. Although some of the changes in cyanogenic glycoside concentration in young leaf tips may have been driven by changes in leaf nitrogen, there was a significant decrease in the proportion of nitrogen allocated to cyanogenic glycosides in young leaves during the summer, coinciding with the peak flowering period. Mobilization of cyanogenic glycosides may have occurred to provide nitrogen for reproduction. Most of the observed temporal and spatial variations in cyanogenic glycosides are consistent with the optimal use of resources, particularly nitrogen.
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kerry
Member
Username: parfait

Post Number: 140
Registered: 5-2001
Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 11:33 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Dr O.
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kerry
Member
Username: parfait

Post Number: 141
Registered: 5-2001
Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 11:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I just read your updated version--I hadn't bothered to read the article as I knew the old one by heart. The new article is excellent and very clear--practically a flow chart--nice!

Thanks again,

KB
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