- Scientific Name:
- Heliotropium species
- Where Found:
- Found sparingly in the eastern U.S. from Florida north to New Jersey and occassionally into northern New England.
- Toxic to Horses
- Toxic Principles:
- Pyrrolizidine alkaloids
- Clinical Signs:
- The plant is not very palatable, but will be eaten by animals with no other forage; poisonings typically occur from ingestion of green plant material or material in hay. The toxic components can cause liver failure, referred to as "walking disease" or "sleepy staggers". Signs include weight loss, weakness, sleepiness, yawning, incoordination, yellowish discoloration to mucous membranes (icterus), neurologic problems secondary to liver failure (aimless walking, chewing motions, head pressing). Animals may appear to be normal at first, then become suddenly affected; the syndrome progresses rapidly over a few days to a week.
If your pet ingested this plant, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.*
* A $65 consultation fee may apply.
Credit: Photo by G.A. Cooper, courtesy of Smithsonian Institution