Did you know that ornamental yew trees and shrubs are highly toxic to horses and pets? The festive evergreen boughs and bright red berry-like arils of these popular landscape plants make their trimmings a popular choice for holiday wreaths and decorations. Horses find them very tasty but the bark, needle-like leaves, and seeds are all extremely toxic—as little as 90 grams of yew leaves is sufficient to kill a 1000-pound horse.
The red appearance of horse urine in snow can be normal. Horse urine can change color after being voided due to the presence of plant metabolites (pyrocatechines) in the urine that turn a red or orange color when mixed with oxygen. This happens year round, but is especially noticeable in snow. Normal horse urine should be colorless to yellow to dark yellow.
Nancy Sawyer, a client of the West Metro Equine Practice (WMEP), shared these kind words about how WMEP’s medical team treated her horses during a recent visit.