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Experimental poisoning by the leaves of ricinus communis in cattle

Experimental poisoning by the leaves of ricinus communis in cattle

Pesquisa Agropecuaria Brasileira Serie Veterinaria 10(8): 1-7

The leaves of R. communis are presumably toxic to cattle. References in the literature to the toxicity of the leaves of this plant are scarce, vague and contradictory. Fresh green leaves and, in a few experiments, the dried leaves of R. communis, collected in the State of Rio de Janeiro [Brazil], were given orally to 25 bovines in different amounts and at different periods of the year, and in some animals the doses were repeated. The experiments were made with leaves with whitish and with violet stems. Another series of experiments was performed in 12 bovines in the State of Ceara, northeastern Brazil, with the fresh green and with the wilted sun-warm leaves, left in the sun for 1 h; in both cases the stems were whitish. There was no difference in the toxicity of the leaves with whitish and with violet stems, between the leaves from the State of Rio de Janeiro and those from the State of Ceara, nor between the fresh green and the wilted sun-warm leaves. The dose of 20 g of the leaves/kg of body wt. caused death in 8 of 12 bovines; doses from 10-12.9 g/kg given to 11 bovines, caused the death of only 1 of them, which had received 10 g/kg. The plant had no cumulative effect. A slight tolerance may develop. The dried leaves collected up to 19 wk before experimentation and kept at room temperature lost approximately half of their toxicity. The clinical signs caused by ingestion of the leaves of R. communis, those from the State of Rio de Janeiro as well as those from Ceara, the fresh green, the wilted sun-warm leaves, and the dried leaves, were always the same and were mainly neuro-muscular in nature: swaying gait, necessity to lie down after short periods of exercise, difficulties in lying down, muscular tremors, salivation, chewing movements, excessive eructation and recovery in a short period or death. The 1st signs appeared between 3-6 h after ingestion of the leaves. When the animals survived, the signs lasted between 2-10 h. Recovery was complete within 13 h, at the most. When the animals died, the signs lasted between 2-15 h, and death occurred from 5-20 h after having eaten the leaves. The post-mortem findings were negative and the histopathologic examinations revealed slight to severc hydropic degeneration in the liver. The clinical picture observed in these experiments indicates that the toxic principle of the leaves of R. communis is not ricin, which is responsible for the toxicity of the seed. The leaves cause neuro-muscular signs; the seed cause gastro-intestinal disorders.

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Accession: 005425006

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