Review: Guide to Plant Poisoning CD-ROM

Some time ago, I reviewed the book A Guide to Plant Poisoning of Animals in North America, written by Anthony P. Knight and Richard G. Walter.

Now, publishers Teton New Media have released this book as a CD-ROM. It contains the same authoritative information as the book, however it is presented in a new and unique way.

The CD-ROM is compatible with both Windows and Macintosh, which earns it extra brownie points from me, a devout Macintosh user. All you have to do is put the CD-ROM in the CD-ROM player of your computer and then double-click on the Teton icon that appears on your desktop.

It opens using Internet Explorer, eliminating the need for the installation of an extra “reader” program.

Right on the Home Page you’ll find that the first link is “How To Use the Program,” which explains the various ways in which you can either use the Table of Contents or Search function to find the information you’re looking for.

In the Table of Contents, the left hand side of the screen shows the Chapters which, as you can see below, are categorized by the plant’s affect on the animal. This gives you a good starting point if your horse is exhibiting particular symptoms such as hives, or discolored urine, or respiratory problems.

  • Plants which cause sudden death
  • Plants affecting the cardio-vascular system
  • Plants affecting the digestive system
  • Plants affecting the skin and liver
  • Plants affecting the blood
  • Plants affecting the nervous system
  • Plants causing kidney failure
  • Plants associated with congenital defects and reproductive failure
  • Plants affecting the musculoskeletal system
  • Plants affecting the mammary glandClicking on any of the chapters will open that particular section in the larger, right-hand window, along with clickable links to even more detailed information. You’ll also see lists of plants in each section which, when clicked on, brings up the relevant page from the Alphabetical Plant Listing.The Alphabetical Plant Listing is another way you can find information within the program. Each plant listed has its own page, with habitat marked on a US map, a description of the plant and information about the principle toxin. These pages are referred to from within the chapters on the Table of Contents. Each page also contains a clear photograph, which you can click on to enlarge, allowing you to positively identify a plant.In my opinion, the most valuable part of the program is the Plant Identifier. This is especially useful if you are concerned about the unknown plants growing on your property. It works simply by allowing you to select various characteristics of the plant, such as leaf type, flower arrangement, flower color etc. and then presents a selection of plants that match that description. Alternatively, if you think your horse is suffering from plant poisoning, you can use your horse’s clinical signs or systems affected for your search criteria. Once again, clicking on a plant name from within the Plant Identifier will take you to the relevant page in the Alphabetical Plant Listing, so you can get a close-up image of the plant in question. It goes without saying that if, at any time, you suspect your horse may be suffering from plant poisoning, you should call the vet immediately. However, this CD-ROM is a wonderful educational tool which will help you be alert to potential problems that may be growing on your property, or help you identify a case of poisoning in your horses and other animals.A Guide to Plant Poisoning of Animals in North America is published by Teton New Media and is available, along with other veterinary books, posters and videos on their Web site, Veterinary Wire

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