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Top 10 what happens if a horse eats moldy hay You Need To Know

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Below is information and knowledge on the topic what happens if a horse eats moldy hay gather and compiled by the baonangluong.info team. Along with other related topics like: Will a horse eat moldy hay, Will moldy hay kill a horse, Can cows eat moldy hay, How to identify moldy hay, How to remove mold from hay, Can moldy hay cause colic, Is dusty hay moldy.


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CAN HORSES EAT MOLD?
es Eat Moldy Hay? 7 Essential Facts

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I avoid feeding hay in bulk because I fear it will mold and my horses won’t eat it, or if they do eat it, they’ll get sick. But some horse owners disagree with me and put round hay bales in their pastures. I decided to find out if horses will eat moldy hay and whether it safe for them.

Horses will eat moldy hay, especially if they have no alternative forage, but consuming moldy hay is dangerous and can cause digestive and respiratory diseases. Moldy hay can be fatal for horses; however, eating a small amount shouldn’t cause serious problems.

Many horse owners believe it’s ok to provide bulk hay to their animals. However, when hay is left out too long, it develops mold, and horses will eat the mold-laden forage, which creates health problems.

This article is one in a series on horse hay I wrote, the main article being: Horse Hay: An Owner’s Guide.

Picture of a round hay bale in a field.

What happens if a horse eats moldy hay?

Mold grows on hay during the hay-making process, in storage, or left too long in humid conditions. Without proper oversight, your horse may eat moldy hay, and if this happens, how does it affect your horse?

Horses that eat moldy hay can die or show no ill effects at all. It entirely depends on the amount of mold your horse ingest, the type of mold, and your horse’s condition.

Hay with mold is dangerous for horses to eat; it can be toxic, and cause colic and respiratory diseases like heaves. Many types of molds can grow in the hay, and each causes different reactions.

Types of mold found in hay.

The seven common types of molds typically found in hay are Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, fusarium, mucor, penicillium, and rhizopus. Each of these molds produces airborne particles that cause respiratory diseases.

In some cases, the mold can produce mycotoxins, which are naturally occurring poisons. The health effects of ingesting mycotoxins can range from acute poisoning to immune deficiency and even cancer.

picture of a sick horse,

Can moldy hay kill a horse?

Some people claim they feed moldy hay to their horses and cows without ever having an issue. If this is true, they’ve been fortunate and are taking a big chance.

Moldy hay can kill a horse. It’s a cause of colic that can be fatal, and some types of mold are toxic to horses. And inhaled mold spores enter horses’ respiratory systems when they eat, causing heaves or other chronic respiratory diseases.

Feeding moldy hay to horses is dangerous. If it doesn’t kill them, it is likely to cause them to get sick, and for pregnant mares, the risks are even more significant.

The toxins from moldy hay can cause a pregnant mare to abort her foal, and she is at risk for the same diseases as other horses. However, some horses may exhibit minor symptoms but feeding nasty hay to horses is not worth the risk to your animal’s health.

What to do if your horse eats moldy hay.

We had some moldy hay fed to our horses accidentally by a young friend. He accompanied my grandson to the barn and pulled a couple of hay flakes from bales we separated because they had mold.

If your horse ate moldy hay, you should contact a vet right away. He may try to remove the hay with a tube or administer a laxative so the toxin will pass before it is absorbed. If the horse ate a small amount of moldy hay, he might advise you to give the horse mineral oil and watch for symptoms.

It is critical to attack the problem quickly. If too much time passes and your horse consumed a lot of moldy hay, it is more difficult to treat successfully and can cause long-term health issues.

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Symptoms caused by eating moldy hay.

It’s challenging to look at a horse and relate its condition to mold poisoning because many things cause similar symptoms. Colic, for example, can also be caused by overeating, changing feeds, and dehydration.

The most common symptoms to watch for if your suspect your horse ate moldy hay are stomach discomfort, rolling on the ground, drooling, diarrhea, trembles, and difficulty breathing.

If your display some of these signs, check your hay for mold. It may not be the cause, but it is a good starting point. It’s essential for your horse’s well-being that you know the difference between good and moldy hay.

Picture of bermudagrass hay next to alfalfa hay

Do hay bales go bad?

When you go to the feed store to buy hay, you do your due diligence and buy a few bales of really nice fresh hay. You store the hay in your barn, and a few weeks later, it has a funny smell. Could your nice hay have gone bad?

Hay can go bad if it absorbs too much moisture. Hay has a moisture rate; most dry horse hay is between 15 and 20 percent. The humidity in hay dissipates and should move out of your storage facility with adequate ventilation. If not, the hay goes bad.

When storing hay, ensure adequate ventilation; improper ventilation creates heat and moisture, two elements necessary to grow mold. Dry hay absorbs humidity from moist air and will mold and spoil.

How does mold get in the hay?

Have you heard the phrase, “cut hay while the sun is shining?” There is a fundamental reason for this saying. When hay is cut, it needs to dry quickly, or mold will grow in the grass.

Mold gets in hay when it is harvested incorrectly. Hay must be cut, dried, baled, and stored in dry conditions. Mold grows in moist environments, and proper hay is baled dry. If the grass you bale is damp or has been wet, mold will develop in the hay.

Haymakers have a procedure for working hay fields. First, they cut the grass, then run over the field with a machine called a “fluffer” to turn the grass and allow air to dry it quickly, and fix it into rows to bale.

If it rains after fluffing the hay, they will likely fluff the grass a second time to dry the hay and prevent mold from developing. Also, putting sizeable round hay bales in pastures creates moist conditions that foster the growth of mold.

What does moldy hay look like?

Before you bring hay home to your horses, you should always check it for mold. Checking for mold isn’t difficult, but you need to be familiar with the smell and look of good hay to recognize bad hay.

Moldy hay looks washed out, pale yellow almost white or gray. Bust open a flake from a bale; if you notice a lot of dust, and a stale smell coming from the hay, it likely has mold. Suitable hay for horses is fresh smelling, lightweight, and green.

Most horse owners feed so much hay it becomes second nature to distinguish good hay from bad. But sometimes mold is not noticeable by looking at it; you have to smell and feel the hay as well.

picture of two horses eating from a round bale of hay,

Are round bales bad for horses?

Cows have less fragile digestive systems than horses, and because of this, they are often fed round bales of hay in open pastures. But can horses safely eat from round hay bales?

Round hay bales aren’t bad for horses if they are fed correctly. It’s not the size or the shape of hay bales that makes them unsuitable for horses; instead, it’s how the hay is used. If round hay bales are covered in a well-ventilated area and kept dry, they aren’t bad for horses.

However, most round bales are made from inferior grass and are left in open pastures for long periods while being consumed. Inevitably the round bales gain moisture and develop mold, which is not suitable for horses.

Cows have no problem eating inferior straw hay with mold.

Below is a helpful YouTube video showing how to identify mold in hay.

FAQ

Is bermuda hay good to feed horses?

Bermuda hay is good for feeding horses. It’s a good source of fiber which is essential to help absorb nutrients and digest food. However, it’s low in protein and shouldn’t be the only food source for horses.
You can learn more about Bermuda hay in this article: Bermuda Hay – Is It Good for Your Horse? 5 Facts to Ponder

Related articles:

  • What Does a Horse Eat? An Essential Feeding Guide
  • Why Does My Horse Eat Dirt?

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Extra Information About what happens if a horse eats moldy hay That You May Find Interested

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Will Horses Eat Moldy Hay? 7 Essential Facts

Will Horses Eat Moldy Hay? 7 Essential Facts

  • Author: horseracingsense.com

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  • Sumary: Horses will eat moldy hay, especially if they have no alternative forage, but consuming moldy hay is dangerous and can cause digestive and respiratory diseases.

  • Matching Result: Horses will eat moldy hay, especially if they have no alternative forage, but consuming moldy hay is dangerous and can cause digestive and respiratory diseases.

  • Intro: Will Horses Eat Moldy Hay? 7 Essential Facts Any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks in advance – I really appreciate it! I avoid feeding hay in bulk because I fear it will mold and my horses won’t eat it, or if they do eat it, they’ll get sick. But some horse owners disagree with me and put round hay bales in their pastures. I decided to find out if horses will eat moldy hay and whether it safe for them. Horses…
  • Source: https://horseracingsense.com/will-horses-eat-moldy-hay-7-essential-facts/

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Moldy Hay for Horses – Team Forage - UW-Madison Extension

Moldy Hay for Horses – Team Forage – UW-Madison Extension

  • Author: fyi.extension.wisc.edu

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  • Sumary: Moldy Hay for Horses1 When haymaking conditions are poor hay may be rained on or left lying in the field for prolonged time periods due to cool and

  • Matching Result: If hay is moldy, the recommendation is to not feed it to horses at all. If symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning are observed (which can occur from mold not visible), …

  • Intro: Moldy Hay for Horses Moldy Hay for Horses1 PDF Version When haymaking conditions are poor hay may be rained on or left lying in the field for prolonged time periods due to cool and humid conditions which reduced drying rates. The long drying periods with high humidity allow field growth of mold on the hay. Poor drying weather has also meant that some hay was put up wetter than usual and mold growth occurred in storage.  With wet weather and high humidity, normal drying in storage may not occur and hay can retain elevated levels of moisture allowing mold growth….
  • Source: https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/forage/moldy-hay-for-horses/

Ate Moldy Hay or Feed, Witnessed - Horse Side Vet Guide

Ate Moldy Hay or Feed, Witnessed – Horse Side Vet Guide

  • Author: horsesidevetguide.com

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  • Sumary: You saw your horse consume hay that looked moldy. What should you do? Moldy hay can cause digestive upset that can lead to abdominal pain (colic), sometimes serious. In rare cases, hay containing toxic molds can cause life-threatening illness. That said, in most cases, the consumption of small amounts of moldy hay do not cause much problem in horses, and you only need to monitor them for signs of abdominal pain (colic), depression, diarrhea or loss of appetite over a 24 hour period.

  • Matching Result: In rare cases, hay containing toxic molds can cause life-threatening illness. That said, in most cases, the consumption of small amounts of moldy hay do not …

  • Intro: Database Record Viewer Observation What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation. YOU ARE OBSERVING Ate Moldy Hay or Feed, Witnessed Summary You saw your horse consume hay that looked moldy. What should you do? Moldy hay can cause digestive upset that can lead to abdominal pain (colic), sometimes serious. In rare cases, hay containing toxic molds can cause life-threatening illness. That said, in most cases, the consumption of small amounts of moldy hay do not cause much problem in horses, and you only need to monitor them for signs of abdominal…
  • Source: https://horsesidevetguide.com/drv/Observation/228/ate-moldy-hay-or-feed-witnessed/

Effect of Feeding Moldy Hay or Feed to Horses

Effect of Feeding Moldy Hay or Feed to Horses

  • Author: ker.com

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  • Sumary: Molds may produce toxic secondary metabolites called mycotoxins.

  • Matching Result: Moldy forage can contribute to a range of disorders in the horse. Inhaled fungal and actinomycete spores can cause primary allergic and …

  • Intro: Effect of Feeding Moldy Hay or Feed to Horses – Kentucky Equine Research March 3, 2014 December 14, 2017 By Kentucky Equine Research Staff Moldy forage can contribute to a range of disorders in the horse. Inhaled fungal and actinomycete spores can cause primary allergic and inflammatory respiratory disease, as well as influencing the incidence, severity, and duration of episodes of infectious respiratory disease. However, molds may also produce toxic secondary metabolites called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins may contribute to reproductive, immunological, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and other disorders in livestock including the horse. Mycotoxins can behave as immunosuppressants, thus having the possibility to…
  • Source: https://ker.com/equinews/effect-feeding-moldy-hay-feed-horses/

Don't feed your horse moldy hay | UMN Extension

Don't feed your horse moldy hay | UMN Extension

  • Author: extension.umn.edu

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  • Sumary: Ingesting moldy hay can cause respiratory problems, heaves in horses.

  • Matching Result: Ingesting moldy hay can cause respiratory problems, heaves in horses.

  • Intro: Don’t feed your horse moldy hay Quick facts Moldy hayDon’t feed moldy hay to horses. Most moldy hay problems are from mold spores, which can produce respiratory disease in horses. Many of the common mold toxins develop in the field during a delayed harvest. If you suspect a mold toxin problem, review your horse’s nutrition and health. It’s hard to pinpoint a mold toxin problem because there are many factors. What may seem like a mold toxin problem could be another disorder or nutritional issue. To reduce the dust problems from moldy forage (will not reduce mold toxins) Feed in…
  • Source: https://extension.umn.edu/horse-nutrition/dont-feed-your-horse-moldy-hay

Moldy hay holds multiple hazards for horses - Country Folks

Moldy hay holds multiple hazards for horses – Country Folks

  • Author: countryfolks.com

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  • Sumary: by Bill and Mary Weaver
    Dr. Robert Van Saun, a Penn State University Extension veterinarian and professor, was called to a farm to investigate why the horses became colicky after eating. The hay in their diet appeared to be quality orchard grass hay. Van Saun’s suspicions were aroused, however, when he noticed a musty smell. An

  • Matching Result: A partial list of potential consequences to your horses as a result of inhaling mold spores includes: not wanting to eat, performance losses of …

  • Intro: Moldy hay holds multiple hazards for horses by Bill and Mary Weaver Dr. Robert Van Saun, a Penn State University Extension veterinarian and professor, was called to a farm to investigate why the horses became colicky after eating. The hay in their diet appeared to be quality orchard grass hay. Van Saun’s suspicions were aroused, however, when he noticed a musty smell. An analysis showed that the hay contained over 25 percent moisture — a dead giveaway to the problem. “To prevent mold growth,” Van Saun explained, “hay must be dried to below 15 percent moisture. Thirteen percent is safer.”…
  • Source: https://countryfolks.com/moldy-hay-holds-multiple-hazards-for-horses/

Mold and Mycotoxins in Horse Hay - Penn State Extension

Mold and Mycotoxins in Horse Hay – Penn State Extension

  • Author: extension.psu.edu

  • Rating: 5⭐ (590000 rating)

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  • Sumary: Hay with a high moisture content is at risk for developing mold. There are a variety of health risks for horses that consume moldy hay.

  • Matching Result: High moisture hay can also lead to the proliferation of bacteria, molds and fungus that can produce mycotoxins that are dangerous to horses and …

  • Intro: Mold and Mycotoxins in Horse HayBe kind to your hay producer – especially this year. Saying that hay-making conditions have been challenging is a huge understatement. Many areas of Pennsylvania saw record levels of rainfall and many locations failed to experience more than 3 days in a row without rain. The following information summarizes some of the conditions that can occur when hay is produced during wet and humid conditions, as well as tips on feeding hay that has been treated with propionic acid to prevent mold growth. What Causes Mold to Grow on Hay? Much hay has been rained…
  • Source: https://extension.psu.edu/mold-and-mycotoxins-in-horse-hay

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Frequently Asked Questions About what happens if a horse eats moldy hay

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic what happens if a horse eats moldy hay, then this section may help you solve it.

Can moldy hay make horses sick?

Don’t feed moldy hay to horses. Most moldy hay problems are from mold spores, which can produce respiratory disease in horses. Many of the common mold toxins develop in the field during a delayed harvest. If you suspect a mold toxin problem, review your horse’s nutrition and health.

Will a little bit of mold hurt a horse?

That said, in most cases, the consumption of small amounts of moldy hay do not cause much problem in horses, and you only need to monitor them for signs of abdominal pain (colic), depression, diarrhea or loss of appetite over a 24 hour period.

How do I know if my horse has moldy hay?

Cut open a bale of hay and separate the flakes. Look for the presence of mold in any of the flakes. Moldy hay generally presents as darker areas which are grey or black. If you find mold, refuse the bale ? mold indicates that the hay was baled when it was too wet

What happens if animals eat moldy hay?

?While only some molds produce mycotoxins, these are visually unable to be differentiated, and the presence of mycotoxins is difficult to assess.? Animals that consume contaminated feeds can experience liver and kidney damage, neurologic disorders and estrogenic effects

Can mold cause colic in horses?

Mould can produce mycotoxins which can cause serious health complications in horses. Early signs of mycotoxin ingestion include lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea and digestive discomfort. Over-exposure to mycotoxins can cause colic, paralysis, and potentially fatal neurological conditions.

Can animals eat moldy hay?

Here are the risks of feeding moldy hay to livestock:

1. Horses are impacted the most by moldy hay and can lead to respiratory and digestive problems like colic or heaves. 2. Cattle aren’t as sensitive to moldy hay, but certain molds can result in mycotic abortions or aspergillosis.

Does sickness from mold go away?

Those who process toxins well can see their symptoms disappear as quickly as a few days. Others who eliminate toxins slowly can experience symptoms for much longer. They could be ill for months or even years after the source of mold is eliminated.

How long does it take for a horse to show signs of botulism?

These clinical signs can occur within several hours or up to 7-10 days post ingestion of the contaminated feed. Horses can get botulism in any of three ways.

Can moldy hay make a horse cough?

Horses that suffer an allergy to hay can be allergic to either the hay dust or to the mold that can grow in the hay. Signs of wheezing, sneezing and coughing are indications that your horse is having an allergic reaction to airborne dust or mold.

Can horses eat hay that has been rained on?

Rained-on hay can be a suitable forage, especially for horses prone to laminitis. Forage quality tends to be retained if: The rain occurs soon after cutting when the forage has had little time to dry. The rainfall was a single, short event.

Can you fix moldy hay?

To eliminate mold commonly found in hay bales, West Chester, Pa., equine veterinarian Frank Reilly suggests ?flash soaking? ? tearing pieces of hay off of the bale, putting them in a hay net and then under a heavy rock in a bucket of water for 10 minutes.

Can horses get sick from wet hay?

High moisture hay can also lead to the proliferation of bacteria, molds and fungus that can produce mycotoxins that are dangerous to horses and other livestock species. Some forage laboratories will test for the presence of mold and mycotoxins. If hay is moldy, do not feed it.

What happens if you bale hay too wet?

If wet hay is baled while it is too wet, microbe populations will flourish and intensify the heating process. This results in hay that is lower in nutritive value and dry matter availability. Allowing cut hay to dry (or cure) will slow down the respiration process.

Can horses get botulism from hay?

Figure 1: Horses eating from round-baled hay are more susceptible to developing botulism, especially if the hay was not baled appropriately or if a dead animal was baled together with the hay. Botulism is a deadly disease caused by the toxins produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.

Can horses get salmonella from hay?

Horses can pick up bacteria when they eat grass or hay, drink water, or come in contact with surfaces that have been contaminated by manure from an infected animal. Are some horses more susceptible than others? Any horse can pick up a Salmonella infection.

Can horses eat damp hay?

Wet hay typically goes through a fermentative state, of sorts, and it would not be good for the horse to eat it while this was happening,? she continued. Caution should be used in purchasing hay that was wet when baled. Too much moisture affects the quality of baled hay.

Why can’t you put wet hay in a barn?

Actually, wet hay is more likely to lead to spontaneous combustion than dry hay. If wet hay with more than 22% moisture is stored in a barn or stacked then the risk of spontaneous combustion is increased. Further, the wet hay loses in forage quality.

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CAN HORSES EAT MOLD?

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