Rapeseed (Brassica napus subsp. napus), also known as oilseed rape or rape, is a bright-yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family). Rapeseed is cultivated mainly for its oil-rich seed. 

This time of year, rapeseed makes up fields full of beautiful yellow flowers. It can be tempting to want to allow your pets to run through it. But should you let them?

Social Media says it could be dangerous?

There have been some pretty startling symptoms circling on social media lately. In grazing animals, we may see severe signs including haemolytic anaemia, blindness, damaged nervous systems, digestive disorders and breathing problems – in our companion animals this is not commonly documented.

What could it do?

Dogs can develop gastrointestinal issues if they ingest some of the plant. Essentially, a stomach upset with nausea and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea. There have also been reports of skin reactions which resemble burns that can cause pain and discomfort and require treatment. Thankfully both of these outcomes are rare and certainly don’t happen to every animal that comes into contact with it! 

Despite the chances of serious issues being low, rapeseed can cause problems as a result of coming into contact with the plant and flower. In addition, to protect the farmer’s crop and ensure your pet doesn’t have any untoward effects it would be best advised to keep to the footpaths in these fields – walking alongside rapeseed is unlikely to cause any trouble at all.

Is it dangerous to me?

The answer will depend on you. Several studies show that pollen from oilseed rape is allergenic. So you may find walking along a footpath in a rapeseed field too much if you have bad pollen allergies or hay fever. It has been suggested that people who experience leaf tree and grass pollinosis may experience allergic symptoms when exposed to rapeseed pollen or that it might make symptoms worse or last longer in those people.

If it’s not that dangerous, can my dog run through it?

Despite looking very tempting to run through, it’s important to remember that this is a crop and a farmer’s income. The “right to responsible access” means people aren’t necessarily restricted to paths and can walk across fields with no crops where no path exists. However, farmers highlight that such access rights are suspended as soon as a crop is sown until after harvest; walkers must keep to the field edge during this time. 

So, even if rapeseed isn’t likely to cause major issues to your dogs, still ensure you respect the farmland when walking your happy hound.

What if my pet does exhibit issues following contact with rapeseed?

If your pet has been in contact with rapeseed and is showing any inflammation of the skin or around the eyes, skin irritation, gastrointestinal upset or any other concerning clinical signs, contact your vets for further advice.

Vetster option 01 (Blog)

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