Toxic Plants of Livestock in peri-urban kebeles of Woliso and Wonchi towns, South West Shewa Zone of Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia
The study was conducted from November 2016 to May 2017 to assess poisonous plants and risk of exposure of livestock. A total of 200 volunteer individuals (177 livestock owners, 15 animal health practitioners, and 8 traditional healers) were selected based on the recommendations of knowledgeable elders and local authorities, and interviewed using a structured questionnaire. The majority of the respondents (89.5%) reported the presence of plant poisoning. Twenty seven species of plants were identified as toxic to livestock. The plants that were commonly listed as toxic include Medicago burweed (39.7%), Sorghum bicolor (11.7%), Parthenium hysterophorus (8.9%), Pteridium acquilinum (6.1%), and Urtica simensis (5%). The driving factors for livestock exposure to toxic plants were season like rainy season (58.7%) followed by growing nature of the toxic plants (43%), hunger, shortage of feed (41.3%), nutritional deficiency (9.5%), and other reasons (6.1%) such as lack of awareness of the herder about the toxic plants. Most of the toxic plants cause livestock toxicosis by single exposure (74.3%). Cattle were the most susceptible (26.3%). The major plant parts that cause livestock toxicosis were whole plant (70.4%) followed by leaves (16.8%). Bloating, colic, salivation, weakness, and loss of appetite were the most frequently observed symptoms of toxicosis. The study revealed the existence of large number of toxic plants in the area. Therefore, intervention such as awareness creation on the impact of toxic plants to livestock, optimal pasture management, and supplementary feeding during times of adversity is necessary to reduce losses that could result from livestock toxicosis.