Details

Common Name
Snakeweed, broomweed, turpentine weed.
Botanic Name
Gutierrezia sarothrae
Plant Family
Asteraceae
Habitat
Dry plains and foothills at altitudes from 4000-10000 feet.
Animals Affected
Horses, cattle, sheep, goats
Snakeweed
Toxic Principle
Saponins are believed to be the toxic component of snakeweed. Both the green and dried plant are toxic, although there appears to be considerable variability in toxicity.
Description
Perennial which is shrubby or woody only at the base, attaining 18-24 inches in height. The stems are branching, the leaves are linear and glabrous. The heads are many, usually in clusters at the ends of branches. A given head will have no more than 3-8 ray flowers and 3-8 disc flowers. The flowers are yellow with the disc flowers usually perfect. The corollas are 5-lobed and the pappus is composed of several to many oblong scales. Often forms dense stands especially in overgrazed rangeland.
Gastrointestinal
Diarrhea followed by constipation.
Musculoskeletal
Loss of weight
Congenital Defects
Abortions. Calves may be born alive and weak, and may die after a few days.
Treatment
There is no specific treatment. Affected animals should be removed from the snakeweed and giving supportive care.
Reproductive System
Abortions, retained fetal membranes. May also decrease male fertility.
Hepatic System
Liver necrosis and degeneration may be seen at post mortem examination.
Diagnosis
Abortions, liver necrosis, access to snakeweed.
Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae).
Snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) flower.