NEED URGENT HELP! Is this horse nettle in hay?

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Liamallory

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Dec 25, 2021
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Hi everyone! I hope you can help me! I was refilling my bun's rack with second cut timothy from a brand that I've found to be very trustworthy and haven't had problems with before (unfortunately I live in a country where timothy hay isn't locally produced so it's largely imported). While I was doing so, I found bits of brown plantstuff that I first thought was moldy hay, but I eventually thought was just the usual random stuff that get trapped in the hay during the drying process due to the rest of the hay being green and smelling fresh, with no brown or white spots or white dust. I also realized that they looked like a different type of leaf rather than grass because there was a bit of stem left in one. However, I eventually found a bit more of the same material after refilling again days later, and I found some small spines/thorns around them. I took a pic half-heartedly, and did the same as before: tossed out the offending bits and carefully examined the hay before putting it in my bun's rack. So far my bun has not show any signs of not being healthy and still eats his hay eagerly.

Fast forward to just a while ago when I had an idea to randomly look up prickly leaves that might get caught in hay and learned for the first time about horse nettle. I read that they're toxic and now I'm pretty scared. I have a picture of the leaves below (a little desaturated due to my room's lighting) and I'll be very grateful if anybody can help me with identifying whether they are horse nettle or not. And I also know that the usual immediate reaction when finding potential stuff like this in hay is to toss out all of the "contaminated" hay, but unfortunately the hay is pricey for me (imported, as stated earlier) and still has quite a lot left 😢 Will it be absolutely necessary to toss it all out, or will sifting through the hay and removing any other pieces left be okay?
 

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