Slaframine Toxicity (a/k/a Clover Toxicity) results from ingestion of a toxin produced by the fungus Rhizoctonia leguminicola, commonly found on Red Clover (less commonly found on White Clover, Alfalfa and Alsike) that causes excessive slobbering (salivation) in horses.
This condition is fairly common in hot, humid climates and during hot, humid weather periods. It rarely is found in drier conditions.
Ingestion of small quantities of this fungus may lead to drooling, whereas ingestion of large quantities can result in more severe problems such as diarrhea, colic, frequent urination, inadequate milk production in mares, and even abortion.
This diagnosis is based on the the observation of salivation – the classic clinical sign of this toxicity – coupled with a history of grazing affected clover. Black or gray splotches of this fungus may be visible on the leaves or dark rings on the stems of the growing clover plants. It is harder to see in dried hay.
Other than removing horses from pasture or affected hay, there is no other reported treatment at this time.
Other Diagnoses Considered
Treatments May Include
Prognosis & Relevant Factors
The prognosis depends on the amount ingested. Generally, the prognosis is good if the problem is caught early, and the horse is immediately moved from the pasture and switched to an uninfected, good quality hay. Usually the signs disappear after 1-3 days. Rarely, in severe cases, however, photosensitization and/or liver disease may result.
Once plants are cut and baled, the levels of toxin decrease in hay over a period of months.
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