Are mushrooms a danger to horses?

Asked June 17, 2015, 12:02 PM EDT

I've been hearing a lot of warnings about how dangerous mushrooms are for dogs. Do they also pose a danger to horses?

Deschutes County Oregon horses livestock

3 Responses

I personally have never seen a horse eat a mushroom while out on pasture. I have grown up in this area and always had horses. I have never heard of a horse getting sick from eating mushrooms. However, if the pasture is poor and they are hungry, they are capable of eating most anything. To be safe I might try to identify the mushrooms on the property and see if they are poisonous. I know there are poisonous mushrooms in the forested areas of central Oregon but have not heard of poisonous mushrooms in our pastures.

Scott

Thanks for the quick reply, Scott.

We always seem to get mushrooms in our yard this time of year, but this year there are more than usual, and more varieties (probably at least 6 different kinds). Friends have identified several by their common names of "toadstool" and "death cap". I've heard that the "death cap" mushrooms are very toxic, and can kill a dog after ingesting a very small amount.

That's why I was wondering if they could also be dangerous to horses.

I completely understand why you are asking and appreciate your concern. Mushroom identification is not easy so you might want to double check to be sure that you have death cap mushrooms in your yard. I cannot promise that a horse will not eat a mushroom as they are all have such different personalities. However, a good rule of thumb in ag is that if the animal has adequate feed they usually stay out of trouble. Typically, when we see an animal ingest a toxic plant they are on pasture that is terribly over grazed and they are not being fed correctly. Animals are smart about what they eat unless they get really hungry and then it is not surprising to have them get into trouble.
Take care,
Scott