Horses love to eat apples just like some of us do, and if you let them, they can have a lot of them. Some people wonder if horses can get drunk from consuming too many apples. Why is that even a concern in the first place?
We’ll discuss that in this article so ensure you go through all of it.
Is it possible to get drunk off apples? The answer should be a strong no. Apples are fruits and when consumed normally, they don’t leave the consumer with symptoms of intoxication. However, horses may develop colic when they eat a lot of apples. This is because the apples ferment in their system and produce gas.
Unlike humans, horses are unable to burp or throw up (vomit) so the build-up of the gas horse’s digestive system specifically the intestines and stomach could result in gas colic. Gas colic is a sensitive condition that could be fatal if not properly treated. Another term we’ll need to discuss concerning horses and apples is “ethanol poisoning”.
While horses may not get drunk from consuming fresh apples, they may suffer ethanol poisoning from feasting on fermented apples. Other wild animals, including bears and moose, can get drunk mistakenly by taking fermented apples into their system.
When a fresh apple drops to the ground from its tree, it poses zero harm if consumed immediately by a human or animal. However, if it’s left on the ground for a few days, it begins to rot and ferment in the process. Consuming such apples cause ethanol poisoning in horses.
This is a disturbing condition that could affect the animal in the following ways:
- Ethanol poisoning could cause harm to healthy cells which may eventually lead to the death of the animal.
- An intoxicated animal can accidentally put themselves in a precarious situation as their senses have become compromised.
- They may wander away from familiar terrains with no idea how to return
- Their natural instincts which help them protect themselves become impaired.
- Affected animals may become a nuisance to their environment
How do you know your horse is suffering from ethanol poisoning?
It may be difficult to tell exactly when ethanol poisoning may occur. Some factors contribute to the probability of its occurrence. These factors include the animal’s weight, species, and metabolic rate.
How long the apples have been left on the ground to ferment should also be considered. The number of apples consumed by the horse should be noted as well.
Look out for the following symptoms to inform you whether the horse is intoxicated:
- Slower heart and breathing rate
- Loss of balance
- Behavioral changes
- Lower body temperature
- Cardiac arrest
- Slowed reflexes
If you notice that your horse is showing any of the symptoms above, you should seek the help of a medical professional.
The best way to prevent ethanol poisoning is to clean up apples off the ground after a few days. Don’t leave them to ferment. You should also avoid eating apples that have spent a lot of time on the ground.
Apples are natural and nutritious delicacies that both humans and animals enjoy. While your horse won’t get drunk from eating apples the same way we do, consumption of fermented apples can cause ethanol poisoning in horses and other animals too.
Also, consuming a lot of apples increases the possibility of developing gas colic in horses. Ensure you closely guard what your horse eats, including how much they eat. Throw away apples that have spent a lot of time on the ground and only feed your horses fresh apples. Don’t let them consume a truckload of apples every day though!