Horses fall seriously ill after eating potentially lethal grass cuttings dumped in fields

By Caitlin Arlow

A horse owner is urging people not to dump grass cuttings into fields after her animals were diagnosed with life-threatening conditions.

Laura Grant's pony and horse, Chewie and Billy, which she owns with her daughter, fell ill after she claims someone put garden rubbish and grass cuttings in the field in Talcarn Farm, Trimsaran where the animals roam.

Laura said: "People need to be made aware of the dangers dumping garden waste especially grass cuttings. Not only is it potentially lethal to horses and other animals it is actually fly tipping. There is no excuse for it."

Read more: Ninety horses found living amongst rotting faeces and bucket of dead rats at Welsh farm

Laura says grass cuttings can cause horses and ponies to develop potentially life-threatening colic further along the digestive system or a painful condition called laminitis that affects their hooves.

Horses need to have any changes to their diet made gradually over a couple of weeks and struggle to break down the cellulose in grass in alrge quantities. With grass cuttings the animals can eat large quantities without chewing.

Laura added: "Sadly these two animals are very friendly and very greedy and made use of the dumped grass cuttings before we even saw them."

17 year-old Welsh cob Billy and 2 year-old Welsh partbred pony Chewie (Laura Grant)
Billy suffered a tight fold in his colon (Laura Grant)

After eating the cut grass both animals suffered intestinal problems. Laura says Billy had a tight fold in his colon which made matters worse and he could only get relief when laying down or with legs in the air.

Laura said: "Both had to be examined rectally, tubed, given pain meds, buscopan, rehydrated via tubing, Chewie also had to be sedated. As you can see in the videos and photos both ponies were very poorly, I really thought I was going to have to make the decision to have Billy put to sleep.

"At one point it was touch and go as to whether our vet took him into the hospital to treat him at an estimated cost of £5000 to £10,000 but Kate was brilliant and did everything she could for him and after four days he is almost back to normal. He seems to be tired but after everything I'm not surprised. Chewie is definitely back to his usual cheeky self. Both are now on regular electrolytes."

Dr Mark Kennedy, RSPCA equine welfare expert, said: "RSPCA Cymru is very saddened to hear that these horses have become ill as a result of eating grass clippings and we wish them a full and speedy recovery.

"Horses can gorge on grass clippings very rapidly (compared with grazing naturally) causing choke or gut blockages, and they rapidly ferment in the gut making horses seriously ill, all potentially leading to the horse's death. Never, ever, dispose of grass clippings in a field where horses may be present".

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