Lupine (Lupinus perennis-wild)

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This page contains information regarding a plant "known to be poisonous" to goats as well as other animals. This information was researched from various resources. Please note, that the author is not a botanist or specialist regarding plants. This information is posted for your reference and comparison purposes only.

Lupine - Click for a full size image Lupine - Click for a full size image

Bluebonnet, Quaker-Bonnets (pea family)

Alkaloid Containing Plant - Lupines are herbaceous perennials grown in gardens or found wild along roadsides, in fields, and in open woods. Wild lupines are common only in the prairie and lake counties of Indiana. In the rangelands of the West, they are a leading cause of livestock poisoning. Several stems often grow from one creeping root and reach 12 to 30 inches in height. The leaves are alternate and palmately compound with 7 to 11 spear-tip-shaped, softly hairy segments. Elongate spikes of blue, purple, white, magenta, or bicolored pea-like flowers in early summer are followed by 1- to 2-inch, fuzzy, pea-like pods.

All parts, especially pods with seeds.

Toxicity in lupine is believed to result primarily from the alkaloid D-lupanine. The signs of lupine poisoning can develop within an hour or may take as long as a day. The signs are related to the nervous system and resemble the signs seen with excessive consumption of nicotine (tobacco): twitching, nervousness, depression, difficulty in moving and breathing, and loss of muscular control. If large quantities were consumed, convulsions, coma, and death by respiratory paralysis may occur. In cows that graze lupine, skeletal birth defects in calves can occur, and the syndrome is called "crooked calf".

Low to moderate. In the western rangelands, where lupine grows plentifully, the risk of toxicosis would be high. Different species of lupine have different toxicities. According to reports, L. leucophyllus (velvet or wooly-leafed lupine) is the most toxic and should never be grazed since all stages of plant growth are toxic.

Sheep are primarily affected, but all animals are susceptible.

Breathing problems, behavioral changes, trembling, birth defects, coma, death.

There is no antidote. Allow affected livestock to rest quietly, especially if they are unfamiliar with human contact. Handling, trailering, or other stress on the animals after they have been grazing lupine will make the signs worse and can increase losses.

The alkaloids in lupine remain after the plants have dried, so prepared feeds are unsafe for consumption, especially if the feeds contain lupine seed pods.

Do not allow hungry animals access to lupine, particularly when in the seed stage, if other forage is not available. If lupines are prevalent in the pasture, become familiar with the particular species, since toxicities vary. Do not handle, process, or ship animals that are heavily grazing lupine since this type of stress will increase the number of animals that will become sick and/or die. Livestock can graze lupine without incident as long as excessive ingestion is avoided and animals are not handled or trailered while on lupine pastures (and if the animals are not pregnant). In cattle, to avoid birth defects, do not allow grazing between days 40 and 70 of gestation.


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