Toxic plants suspected in 40 horse deaths

November 19, 2010

The deaths of 40 horses in Queensland are under investigation, with a toxic plant the main suspect.

Crotalaria pumila
The horses died from liver damage in the Muttaburra district, in central west Queensland, affecting about five neighbouring properties.

A group of plants called Crotalaria is being investigated as a possible cause.

The deaths occurred between March and June.

The toxin, pyrrolizidine alkaloid, is believed to be involved, with investigators working to establish how the horses ingested it.

However, to date, the precise plant source of the toxin has yet to be established.