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Oh no - think guinea pigs ate ragwort.

2 replies

spots · 26/07/2013 12:49

We let our guineas run in an enclosed area of patio when we are out in the summer. Although it's not exactly well tended we do keep an eye out for weeds that are harmful. I don't know how, but one of those which we had uprooted was lying out and before I had noticed, both pigs were happily munching away. Sad Sad I don't know for sure that it was ragwort - it was quite wilted and I'm not great on identification (so we usually play it pretty safe)... but I can't find anything beyond 'don't let them eat it' on the web. How much is dangerous? What symptoms should I look out for? Anyone know?

OP posts:
spots · 26/07/2013 13:00

ok, interesting in case anyone else ever looks for something... from '':

'No actually it isn't s poison that is stored in the liver. The damage is
cumulative but the poison disappears. There is actually very very little
risk from ragwort at all. It can cause poisoning in very very rare cases
but that is usually caused by it being present in hay.

There are a whole series of thresholds before any damage is done at all so,
contrary to what you may have read, small doses have no effect at all.

I know that there is a lot of stuff around telling you that Ragwort is
dangerous but it all comes from a few dodgy sources who have been
publicising it for their own interests. It is almost a classic example of
how to deceive people with bad science. Since I got interested in this I
have spent a lot of time checking scientific papers to get at the truth.

Some of the bad science has even got repeated in government press releases!

For more details on the science see

There is little risk to animals like rabbits and Guinea pigs for unless it
is dried it tastes and smells so awful to them that they won't touch it.

In fact one of the signs that a place is being overgrazed, by rabbits or
anything else, is that ragwort its growing there in abundance.'

Will keep an eye on them nonetheless!

OP posts:
70isaLimitNotaTarget · 26/07/2013 16:27

Hi spots - ragwort is very poisonous to horses and worse when it's dry (like in hay)
Horses and GPs digestions are similar in the fact that they are constant 'trickle' feeders and cannot vomit.

If it's in their system then there's nothing you can do really (and how many vets out there would know how to treat them? )

Maybe try giving them some favourite food to push their digestive systems a bit- watermelon, salady leaves, hay.

We have loads of pesky buttercups at the moment- DH cut the lawn so now it looks sparse and scabby. Have to position their run very carefully.

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