Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions
BRIEF: Could pine needles poison my goat?
My 4 yr old Nubian doe recently went to New Bolton Center in PA for suspected plant poisoning. We have Ponderosa pine in the pasture, and I've noticed small tufts of the needles growing from the trunks of the trees. Would something like this be enough to poison her? I have two other goats, and they're fine. This particular goat had spit up green "forage" of some sort, was grinding her teeth, and was blowing bubbles from a runny nose. She was unsteady on her feet, and not at all interested in eating or drinking. No other vets had the time to come see her, so I hauled her to New Bolton Center. There are mountain laurel OUTSIDE the pasture, but none IN it. I don't think she could get at any of them. Her signs are the same as those for rhododendron poisoning, but I wonder if the Ponderosa pine would do the same?
You don't tell how much (ounces. pounds, tons) pine foliage is in the pasture or how much was spit up or what was in the rumen contents New Bolton removed. I can't tell sitting here, but I wouldn't think eating a few pine needles would be any big deal. Dring later pregnancy, a healthy dose of pine needles can cause estrogen to rise and the uterus may become so contractile as a result that abortion occurs. Rhododendron, laurel, azelea all have similar poisons and symptoms. Could be they ate some of these you don't know about...(After all there may be a reason you see laurel outside but not inside the pasture...if they ate what was inside) With the dry year, there has been a lot of buttercup coming in, and that can really cause some serious GI problems. Just speculation.