Mangoes Toxic to Horses?

Q:In our horse paddock there are four mango trees. Our horses often eat the mangoes that fall off the tree. We were wondering if it is possible for our horses to get sick from eating too many mangoes.   


A: Mango (Mangifera indica) has not been reported to be toxic to horses. The skin of the fruit, leaves, and bark does contain some compounds similar to the compound in poison ivy that can cause a skin reaction in some people, but this reaction has not been reported in horses.

The pit or seed is oval and flattened on both sides, and has a thick fibrous covering that could become lodged in a horse's pharynx or esophagus if swallowed. A "choked" horse would then be unable to swallow his food and would salivate excessively, dropping any food he tried to swallow out of his mouth or nose. If this should occur, have your veterinarian examine and treat your horse as soon as possible to prevent further serious complications.

In short, even though the mango is not poisonous to horses, it is not a good idea to let horses eat mangoes because of the risk of them choking on the seeds.

About the Author

Anthony Knight, BVSc, MS, Dipl. ACVIM

Anthony P. Knight, BVSc, MS, Dipl. ACVIM, is a professor of large animal medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. He received his veterinary degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya, in 1968. After completing a master’s degree at Colorado State University, he joined the faculty in 1974. His current professional interests include livestock heath, foreign animal diseases, emergency management, and plant toxicology. He has written two books on poisonous plants of animals in North America, and maintains a poisonous plants website for use by anyone wanting poisonous plant information.

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