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Sudden Horse deaths in Sevenoaks & Bromley blamed on Sycamore seed poisoning –Equine Atypical Myopathy

8th May 2015

Over the past six months we here at Trojan Tree Care have undertaken an increasing number of jobs involving the removal of Sycamore trees in Sevenoaks and the surrounding areas where horses grazing nearby have died suddenly from eating the seeds or ‘helicopters’ as they are often known.

The condition is known as Equine Atypical Myopathy and has only recently been identified by vets who are warning of a sharp rise in the number of cases across the country.

Equine Atypical Myopathy has symptoms similar to colic and often leads to a painful death for the animals within a matter of hours after showing symptoms.
Cases tend to spike in the autumn months when the seeds are falling to the ground and to a lesser degree in spring time, likely due to grazing on the young seedlings.

A young sycamore seedling.

Suggested measures for owners wanting to minimise the risk to their animals are providing extra feed, avoiding over-grazing the land, fencing off the affected areas (Often impractical as Sycamores have large seed distribution zones) and ultimately removal of the trees.
Correctly identifying Sycamore trees is an important first step in managing the threat to your animals as they are easily confused with other members of the Acer family such as Norwegian Maples, the seeds of which are not thought to be poisonous to horses.

Managing Director Jamie Saunders of Sevenoaks based tree surgeons Trojan Tree Care had this advice for anyone concerned about the threat of Sycamore Seed Poisoning of their horses.

“I know horse owners love their animals like a member of their own family and often no expense is spared in maintaining their welfare. Before rushing out to spend money erecting fences or felling potentially harmless trees though, I would advise calling in someone like ourselves who can determine whether or not you have any Sycamore trees in the first place, what level of threat they may pose and the best course of action in dealing with them. It’s a free service that may save you wasting money as well as provide you with valuable peace of mind about this fatal condition.”

Contact us today to arrange a free site visit by clicking here or phone 0800 0282 588.

Jamie Saunders

keywords Horse death Sycamore seed poisoning equine atypical myopathy sevenoaks bromley tonbridge tree surgeon trojan tree care