Livestock producers should be aware of small-headed sneezeweed

Sneezeweed consumption by grazing animals produces signs of illness including weakness, staggering, diarrhea, vomiting, salivation, bloating, groaning and grinding of teeth, sticky non-pelleted feces and gastroenteritis, Rector said. Poisoned animals can have forced and fast respiration and a nasal discharge.

Signs of illness will appear within a few hours after the consumption of sneezeweed, and animals may convulse prior to death, Barr said.

“Not much else causes an illness that looks like this,” she said, “but if you need confirmation, our laboratory can examine the rumen content or stomach content microscopically and identify the plant material. We’re here to assist your veterinarian with a diagnosis.”

Rector said earlier feeding studies with this plant have shown that consumption of as little as one-quarter of a percent of an animal’s body weight produced acute poisoning and death, with the mature plants being more toxic than the seedlings.

The plant, also commonly called “small sneezeweed” and “sneezeweed,” commonly occurs in small localized areas on moist habitats of silty, clay loam and sandy soils around ponds, tanks, bar ditches and especially in ephemeral or dry creek bottoms, he said.

Rector said wet falls followed by wet springs usually assure a good crop of seedlings. He said in the past two weeks he’s seen a lot of the plants growing from Sonora to Wichita Falls.

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