Fruits and vegetables are considered a favorite treat of horses. If you love horses, you’ll likely give them treats now and then. A horse will eat whatever you give it and even ask for more. Horse owners follow different ideals when it comes to diet practices. It all comes down to what they think is best for their horses.
Horses’ digestive systems are so delicate. Additionally, they have small stomachs. Their digestive system only allows them to eat small portions at a time. So, for their well-being, never overfeed your horse.
Tomatoes are fruits, but they are not suitable for horses. While it is true that horses need healthy treats, tomatoes are not fit for them. Now, let’s find out why tomatoes are harmful.
Keep Tomatoes Far-off From Horses
We have established that horses love fruits; in that case, can you feed them tomatoes? We have seen instances where people feed their horses tomatoes during the summer. The horses seem to be enjoying it. However, some sites suggest that horses don’t like the taste of tomatoes at all. In this way, they do not eat enough to make them ill.
This act of feeding your horse tomatoes should not be encouraged. Thus, if you own a horse and grow tomatoes in your garden – do not grow it close to your horse. To be safe, grow your tomatoes in a fenced area.
Tomatoes are Toxic to Horses
Tomatoes are from the Solanaceae family and are nightshade members. They contain glycoalkaloids such as hyoscyamine, solanine, atropine, and others. While these are harmless to humans, they are toxic to horses. Though, research has shown that the levels of solanine are low in ripened tomatoes. It still isn’t safe for your horse.
Atropine, on the other hand, is present in the green parts of the plant in large quantities and present in the fruit. This toxin is responsible for slowing down digestion.
The toxin hyoscyamine blocks saliva production, and saliva is what aids digestion. Saliva mixes with the feed inside the horse’s mouth to help it travel smoothly through the esophagus.
The two main dangers your horse will face from eating tomatoes are diarrhea and colic. It will suffer more significant damages if it consumes too much.
Symptoms of Tomato Toxicity in Horses
You might have seen horses feed on tomatoes, and there are no visible side effects. There are a lot of explanations for this. It’s either because the horse did not ingest too many tomatoes or the breed of the horse. Some particular breeds are immune to tomatoes.
To be on the safe side, do not feed tomatoes to your horses – it’s very unsafe and not suitable for their system. Your horse might be in discomfort after ingesting tomatoes without you knowing. However, if you have been feeding the animal tomatoes, watch out for signs of poisoning. If you notice any of these signs and they get worse, this means your horse is suffering from tomato poisoning.
The following are symptoms you should look out for:
- Loss of balance
- Loss of appetite
- Dilated pupils
- Slowed heart rate
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Twisted muscles
It would help if you took immediate action when you see your horses exhibiting any of these symptoms. Fortunately, horses can recover from tomato poisoning only if you detect and treat them on time. Otherwise, they could die from the toxins since they can’t vomit.
The first thing you need to do is contact a veterinarian once you notice any of these symptoms. The vet will take the animal’s blood and urine samples to conduct tests to determine solanine poisoning levels. They then proceed to give your horse the proper treatment.
If it’s positive for solanine poisoning, the treatment will include the use of neostigmine drugs. Moreover, the vet will also prescribe activated charcoal to prevent the digestive tract from absorbing more poison.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do horses like tomatoes?
Horses don’t like tomatoes. Just because you see them eat tomatoes doesn’t mean they like it. Many horses eat tomatoes because they are out of food to graze. While others accidentally feed on tomatoes if their stable is close to a tomato garden. These horses might get used to tomatoes and stand the risk of getting ill.
2. What foods are toxic to horses apart from tomatoes?
There are various toxic fruits and veggies apart from tomatoes. Cross these vegetables and fruits from your feeding list: potatoes, cabbage, and any other fruit that belongs to the nightshade family.
3. Are carrots also bad for horses?
Carrots are horses’ favorites but do not feed them much. Always practice moderation.
4. Why can’t horses eat tomato plants?
It is because they contain glycoalkaloids that are harmful to them.
5. My horse ate tomatoes but seems okay. Is it alright to continue?
Do not continue. Try and observe your horse for any signs of poisoning. If you suspect that the animal is suffering from poisoning, immediately contact a vet.
The bottom line is that tomatoes are lethal to horses. The tomato stem and leaves are dangerous. Even if your horse doesn’t mind eating tomatoes, it doesn’t mean it is suitable for its diet. If you have been doing this, refrain from it.
Also, be careful not to mix tomato plants with horse hay, grass, etc. Always pay close attention to your horses’ feed and ensure their stable is void of anything tomatoes.