Everything you need to know about sycamore disease

Sycamore Disease

Paraic Horkan warns horse owners to protect their horses from fatal poisoning caused by the animal ingesting Sycamore seeds and foliage. Irish Horses and ponies have already died after getting Equine Atypical Myopathy from Sycamore Seeds and foliage.  Sycamore trees have produced an enormous crop of seed this Autumn. The seeds are informally known as ‘helicopters’ because of the way winged Sycamore seeds are caught by the wind and dispersed away from the mother tree. Paraic is warning all horse owners of the risk of poisoning this Winter from these winged seeds.

Equine Atypical Myopathy:
This warning comes after an outbreak of Equine Atypical Myopathy (caused by horses eating Sycamore seeds) has claimed the lives of more than 30 animals across Ireland. Paraic is warning all horse owners of a surge in cases of this potentially fatal disease which is linked to horses ingesting the toxin hypoglycin found in Sycamore seeds and leaves.

The number of cases of Equine Atypical Myopathy has reached record levels this year due to the high levels of Sycamore seeds produced after the perfect Summer conditions. Scientists believe the horses are being poisoned by eating Sycamore leaves and the tree’s distinctive ‘helicopter’ seeds.

There is no known cure for the illness, which weakens a horse’s muscles so it struggles to breathe and then dies of a heart attack. It is fatal in around 75 per cent of cases.

How to help prevent Equine Atypical Myopathy:
This November Paraic recommends that horse owners should rake up Sycamore seed and leaves in grazing paddocks.

Also the trees and surrounding areas should be fenced off until next Summer. These simple actions will help to reduce the risk of Equine Atypical Myopathy.

About the Sycamore Maple Tree:
The Sycamore Maple is a large deciduous tree that reaches 20–35 m (66–115 ft) tall at maturity, with a broad, domed crown. On young trees, the bark is smooth and grey but becomes rougher with age and breaks up in scales, exposing the pale-brown-to-pinkish inner bark.

 

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