I have gotten a number of calls about cattle being poisoned by perilla mint. Dr. David Tyree, veterinarian and owner of Animal Health Services in Addison, told me that he knows of over 130 head of cattle that have been killed by perilla mint poisoning in this area. Dr. Tyree said the symptoms of perilla mint poisoning are pneumonia, difficulty breathing, drooling, nasal discharge, and grunting upon exhaling. He added that treatment is difficult and often unsuccessful. Perilla mint is poisonous to cattle, goats, sheep, and horses.
The drought that we are experiencing is a major factor in the severity of this problem this year. The plant is always present on Winston County farms, but the drought has driven the cattle to feed on this plant even though it is unpalatable. Other poisonous plants may also become a problem if the drought continues.
We have a publication about perilla mint that is available free of charge by calling our office at (205) 489-5376 or by visiting our office in the John Nichols Building in Double Springs.
Mr. John Sudduth, a Winston County cattleman, explains how to identify perilla mint in this video that we made in a Winston County pasture.