Hello, we have a pasture of about 3 acres that we have 5 ponies out on. They...

Asked July 21, 2014, 11:48 AM EDT

Hello, we have a pasture of about 3 acres that we have 5 ponies out on. They have been foaming at the mouth for a couple weeks now and I am trying to read on what weed/plant causes this. I have read that red clover can cause it? If so is there any harm to it? Should we be checking the pasture for something, and we have never reseeded it, maybe I need to get something planted and keep them off of it for a while? Any ideas or suggestions on it?

Hancock County Ohio

1 Response

You are correct regarding red clover. It is commonly associated with "slobbers" in horses, the production of excessive amounts of saliva. According to an eXtension post:
"This condition is caused by slaframine, which is produced when red clover is infested with a mold. The mold is generally a rust color seen on the upperside of the leaf. This mold normally runs its course in two to four weeks, depending on weather conditions. The slobbering is not generally a problem for the horse other than it is unsightly and may cause dehydration. There are other weeds and fungi that occasionally cause similar problems. These may include plants the horse has consumed that have thorns, bristles, stinging hairs, or sharp awns that may cause lesions to the cheeks, tongue, and gums, causing painful ulcers and excessive salivation."
Our weather conditions this year to this point have been conducive for the development of mold.
I hope this is helpful.