In autumn the acorns often fall from the trees to the ground due to rain and wind. If your horse or dog eats too many acorns, it can get acorn poisoning. How dangerous are acorns for horses and dogs, what is the risk, what are the symptoms and how can you prevent your horse or dog from eating acorns?
Many horses have different preferences for food and taste. Fortunately, most horses don’t like acorns because of the bitter taste, but some horses really like them! Dogs often enjoy playing with the acorns, chewing them, or even eventually eating them. Does your horse or dog like acorns? Attention, this can be dangerous!
If your horse or dog has eaten a few ripe (brown) acorns, there is usually nothing to worry about. Especially the green immature acorns and the green leaves contain a lot of the substance tannin, also known as tannic acid. There are tannins that are good for animals, but the tannins in acorns can be toxic, making it dangerous for horses and dogs. If your horse or dog gets too much tannins by eating acorns, this can cause poisoning symptoms such as a loss of appetite, drowsiness, diarrhea or colic. In very extreme cases it can even lead to kidney failure and in pregnant mares there is an increased risk of abortion.
If your horse or dog has suffered acorn poisoning, always contact your vet. The vet will make your horse or dog vomit to remove any remaining acorns from the stomach, and will also deal with stomach and intestinal problems. In addition, a blood test may be necessary to determine whether the kidney function is still sufficient. You don’t have to panic when your horse or dog eats a few acorns, but prevention is always better than cure.
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