Home NewsAustralia Native NT plant species kills horses on remote cattle station

Native NT plant species kills horses on remote cattle station

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A variety of horses throughout the Northern Territory have perished after consuming the native legume Indigofera. 

At Waite River Station on the Utopian homelands in Central Australia, Dennis and Ley Kunoth have misplaced six out of 11 work and camp drafting horses this yr to the poisonous native plant.

The identical plant led to the deaths of 24 dogs in Victoria earlier this yr after horse meat contaminated with indospicine was utilized in pet meals.

Dennis and Ley Kunoth say their loss has been heartbreaking.

“We had an previous mare that belonged to our youngest son. He was studying to trip on her, and she or he was simply fairly criminal,” Ms Kunoth mentioned.

“We simply did not actually know what it was.”

After contacting their vet, it was advised that Indigofera may very well be the perpetrator — however the household was not satisfied.

“We hadn’t seen any round … so we went to the DPI and got a guide with all of the species of crops,” she mentioned.

“Indigofera was within the guide … [we] learn all of the signs of what horses might have if that they had Indigofera … so we knew then.” 

Signs embrace lack of urge for food, melancholy, “toe dragging” and weight reduction.

Man wearing jeans, red shirt and brown hate walks through dry grass.
Dennis Kunoth finds Indigofera on his property.(

ABC Rural: Xavier Martin 


Good rain, dangerous development

Indigofera has been extra prevalent all through 2021 than regular on account of a bumper summer time rain interval, in line with senior botanist for the NT Division of Setting, Parks and Water Safety Peter Jobson.

“That is all because of the truth we had nice rains in late summer time [and those] are the kind of circumstances that may fireplace this up and get it rising,” Mr Jobson mentioned.

The native plant has totally different results on totally different animals.

In response to distant vet Campbell Costello horses are neurologically affected by the native plant.

“Horses are actually inclined to the neuron toxin, not a lot to the liver toxin,” Dr Costello mentioned.

A sick dog lies down
Brandy is considered one of greater than 50 canines that suffered liver toxicity after consuming uncooked pet meals containing horse meat.(



“Simply because they do not get liver illness does not imply the toxin does not construct up of their meat … canines are very inclined to liver injury and the liver toxin.”.

Ley Kunoth is left to recollect considered one of her favorite horses.

“You would do something on her. Two of my youngsters learnt to trip on her, and Dean [youngest son] being solely 5 or six on the time you understand he had began camp drafting on her, she was his satisfaction and pleasure.”

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