Warning over garden clippings being dumped in grazing pasture after sheep poisoning

Flockowners and gardeners need to be aware of the danger of sheep gaining access to gardens or of garden clippings being dumped in grazing pasture.

That’s according to a latest report from Regional Veterinary Laboratories operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM).

The laboratories provide data on the patterns and frequency of occurrence of non-regulated diseases in farmed animal populations in Ireland.

In the first quarter of 2018 poisoning was a commonly recorded (20 cases) as a cause of death among sheep with cases of Rhododendron/Pieris spp. poisoning recorded in 9 cases.

Sheep farmers and members of the public have been warned of the danger of sheep gaining access to gardens or of garden clippings being dumped in grazing pasture.

Most poisoning occurs in the winter months because the leaves are generally evergreen and are attractive to animals when other forages are scarce.

Animals eating approximately 0.2pc of their body weight of leaves are likely to develop signs of poisoning.

Animals poisoned by rhododendrons initially have clinical signs of digestive disturbances characterized by anorexia, excessive salivation, vomiting, colic, and frequent defecation.