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Cyanide poisoning in cattle from Dysphania glomulifera (red crumbweed): Using the internet for rapid plant identification and diagnostic advice: Case Report

McKenzie, R.A. and Burren, B.G. and Noble, J.W. and Thomas, M.B. (2007) Cyanide poisoning in cattle from Dysphania glomulifera (red crumbweed): Using the internet for rapid plant identification and diagnostic advice: Case Report. Australian Veterinary Journal, 85 (12). pp. 505-509.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-0813.2007.00216.x

Publisher URL: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/home

Abstract

A 300-strong Angus-Brahman cattle herd near Springsure, central Queensland, was being fed Acacia shirleyi (lancewood) browse during drought and crossed a 5-hectare, previously burnt area with an almost pure growth of Dysphania glomulifera subspecies glomulifera (red crumbweed) on their way to drinking water. Forty cows died of cyanide poisoning over 2 days before further access to the plant was prevented. A digital image of a plant specimen made on a flat-bed scanner and transmitted by email was used to identify D glomulifera. Specific advice on the plant's poisonous properties and management of the case was then provided by email within 2 hours of an initial telephone call by the field veterinarian to the laboratory some 600 km away. The conventional method using physical transport of a pressed dried plant specimen to confirm the identification took 5 days. D glomulifera was identified in the rumen of one of two cows necropsied. The cyanogenic potential of D glomulifera measured 4 days after collection from the site of cattle deaths was 18,600 mg HCN/kg in dry matter. The lethal dose of D glomulifera for a 420 kg cow was estimated as 150 to 190 g wet weight. The plant also contained 4.8% KNO3 equivalent in dry matter, but nitrate-nitrite poisoning was not involved in the deaths.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Biosecurity Queensland
Additional Information:© Australian Veterinary Association. © Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Keywords:Case management; cattle; cyanide; Dysphania glomulifera; internet; plant identification; poisoning.
Subjects:Plant pests and diseases > Poisonous plants
Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Information resources > Electronic information resources
Veterinary medicine > Diseases of special classes of animals > Cattle
Deposited On:24 Feb 2009 06:00
Last Modified:22 Nov 2010 01:08

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