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Anna, Horse Expert
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 11508
Experience:  35 yrs. horseownership, published in major horse journals, volunteer in Girl Scout horse program
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My horse has been lethargic and acting dizzy, as well as

Customer Question

My horse has been lethargic and acting dizzy, as well as stiffness. the hooves do not show a sign of foundering. Just b4 this started, I put him in an area where there is some wood ash. Could this have made him sick?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help your horse. What is the horse's name and age?
Customer: Camaro, 8 years old. I noticed he was spending a lot of time in that area, and he is the type that will eat anything, very curious.
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Camaro?
Customer: I had him on grass, however, there had been very little rain, and the grass was not abundant. I have never had this problem before, even when the grass was lush.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with over 20 years of experience with horses. I'm sorry to hear of this problem.

It actually isn't unusual for horses to eat wood ash when given the opportunity. It is thought that they are seeking the minerals in it - possibly potrassium or copper. Normally, wood ashes won't cause any problems. However, if the wood that was burned contained something toxic, neurological problems could result. This is possible if the wood was treated or painted lumber, or if it came from trees that are toxic to horses. Black, walnut, black locust, and several oak species are all toxic. Black walnut is known for causing symptoms similar to founder. The others can cause neurological symptoms. So, the answer to your question is that yes, under some circu,stances, wood ash could make a horse sick.

It's just as likely that it is a coincidence that Camaro developed these symptoms after being in with the wood ash. Regardless, there isn't anything you can do for him on your own. If you do nothing, he may gradually improve, or he may deteriorate. For that reason, I recommend contacting your vet. do let him/her know about the wood ash, especially if it came from a toxic tree or processed lumber. If you have more questions, just let me know. I hope Camaro will quickly reach a full recovery.


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Expert:  Anna replied 1 year ago.
Hi Rita,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?