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close this bookEthnoveterinary Medicine in Asia - Ruminants (IIRR, 1994, 143 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentCollaborating organizations
View the documentParticipants and workshop staff
View the documentHow to use this manual
View the documentLack of appetite
View the documentFever
View the documentCoughs and colds
View the documentDiarrhea
View the documentDehydration
View the documentBloat
View the documentConstipation
View the documentPoisoning
View the documentInternal parasites: Stomach and gut worms
View the documentLiverflukes
View the documentTick infestation
View the documentScabies (mange)
View the documentLice
View the documentFungus infections of the skin
View the documentInfectious diseases
View the documentFoot rot
View the documentEye diseases
View the documentWounds
View the documentBleeding
View the documentSnake bite
View the documentSprains
View the documentDifficulty in urinating
View the documentHousing
View the documentFeeding
View the documentMineral deficiency
View the documentBreeding
View the documentPregnancy and birthing
View the documentCare of mother animals after birthing
View the documentCare of newborn
View the documentUdder infection
View the documentDecreased milk flow


Young calves and kids are curious and may eat poisonous plants. However, young or old, male and female animals, can be poisoned.



· Bloat.
· Abdominal pain.
· Groaning.
· Kicking the abdomen.
· Diarrhea (in arsenic poisoning) .
· Constipation (in lead poisoning).
· Convulsions.
· Salivation.


· Eating or licking toxic plants or plants sprayed with pesticides.
· Licking or drinking chemicals, pesticides, or paint containing lead.


· Store chemicals away from animals.
· Do not use lead-based paints, especially where animals can lick.
· Do not let animals eat sprayed weeds.


Use any of the following treatments for adult cattle and buffaloes unless otherwise indicated. Use half the amount for small ruminants.

· Drench the cattle and buffaloes once with 1 liter paraffin oil or raw linseed oil or natural vegetable oil. (Thailand, India, Philippines, Sri Lanka. 1, 2, 3, 4)

· Drench young animals once with 100 g epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) mixed with 500 ml water. For an adult animal, use 500 g epsom salts with 500 ml water and drench once. (Thailand. 1, 2, 3)

· Pound 200 g Thunbergia laurifolia roots. Mix with 1 .5 liter of water used in washing rice. Drench every 30 minutes until signs of poisoning are gone. (Thailand. 1, 2, 3, 4)

· Drench with any of the following fluids:

- 1 liter of milk. (India. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- 200 g charcoal powder mixed with 800 ml water. (India. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- 1 liter of coconut water. (Cambodia. 1, 2, 3, 4)

Plants that can poison animals

Aleurites fordii

Poisonous part: Foliage and fruit.

Symptoms: Symptoms are not observed until 3-7 days after the foliage has been consumed. Acute poisoning results in death in 3-4 days, while chronic cases linger on for 18-25 days before death ensues. Common symptoms include diarrhea which later becomes watery and profuse, lack of appetite, cessation of rumination, listlessness, depression and unthriftiness. Chronic cases may develop labored breathing, mucus discharge from the nose, salivation, cracking of the skin of muzzle and progressive weight loss.
Antidote/Treatment: Emollients (such as vegetable oil) and drugs should be administered to relieve the inflammation in the digestive tract. Tempt the animal with soft feeds to stimulate the appetite.

Amaranthus spp.

Poisonous part: Young shoots.
Symptoms: Abortion, reduction of milk flow and sudden death.

Argeratum conyzoides

Poisonous part: All parts.

Symptoms: Congestion of small intestine, disturbed blood flow and heavy aromatic odor of skin and urine.

Cassia occidentalis

Poisonous part: Whole plant.

Symptoms: Dullness, high temperature, suppression of urine and slowing of breathing. Death occurs with coma after slight convulsion. Also groaning, great pain, coldness of extremities, weakness of the heart and slight stiffness of the limbs.

Chromolaena odorata

Poisonous part: Young leaves and shoots.

Symptoms: Weakness, bloating, diarrhea with blood, weight loss, muscle contractions and loss of consciousness.

Antidote/Treatment: Mix 6 eggs and 500 g sugar in 1 liter water. Drench at once. Give half the dose to small ruminants.

Crotolaria quinquefolia

Poisonous part: Leaves, stems, roots, seeds.

Symptoms: Low blood pressure, slow heart beat, depression, loss of appetite, bloody feces, drooling saliva, nasal discharge and finally death.

Derris elliptica

Poisonous part: Whole plant.

Symptoms: Dizziness, staggering and sudden death.

Excoecaria agallocha

Poisonous part: Gum.

Symptoms: Diarrhea and blindness.

Hypericum pulogense

Poisonous part: Whole plant.

Symptoms: Blisters and scabs around the mouth, eyes, ears, nose and feet. In severe cases, difficulty in breathing, rapid pulse, foaming of the mouth and finally death.
Antidote/Treatment: Affected animals should be kept in the shade.

Lantana camara

Poisonous part: Leaves.

Symptoms: Staggering, weakness. Skin becomes hard, swollen, cracked and painful. Sluggishness, partial paralysis and bloody diarrhea. Acute poisoning may cause death within 3-4 days. Lantana also produces lesions and symptoms of severe gastroenteritis.
Antidote/Treatment: Affected animals should be kept under the shade. Skin lesions should be treated with healing ointments. Give the animal a mixture of egg white and sugar.

Manihot esculenta, Cassava

Poisonous part: Fresh leaves and uncooked roots.

Symptoms: Bloat with frothing at the mouth, difficulty in breathing.


- Pound 200 g Thunbergia laurifolia leaves with 1-5 liters of water from rice washing. Give 1.5 liters in l drench. Repeat dose every 30 minutes till cured.

- Pound 2 handfuls of charcoal to powder. Add 500 ml water and drench once. Give half of the dose to small ruminants.

- Mix 4 eggs and 250 g brown sugar with 100 g tamarind soaked in 100 ml water to extract the juice. Drench once. Use half of the dose for small ruminants.

Melanorrhoea usitata

Poisonous part: Leaves.

Symptoms: Itching, leading to wounds and abscesses.

Antidote/Treatment: For adult cattle, take 2 kg fresh leaves and 1 kg bark of Tectona grandis. Prepare decoction in 10 liters water. Cool. Dip a clean cloth and rub on the itchy part until the itch is gone.

Nerium oleander

Poisonous part: Leaves.

Symptoms: Nausea, irregular heart beat, bloody diarrhea, respiratory paralysis and death.

Pteridium aquilimum, Bracken fern

Poisonous part: Fronds

Symptoms: Blood in urine. High fever, labored breathing, internal salivation, bleeding. Poisoning is often mistaken for anthrax and other infectious diseases of cattle. Also, unsteady gait, nervousness, congestion of visible mucus membrane and constipation; later staggering and dilated pupils. Antidote/Treatment: 500 ml of strong black tea or coffee as drench.

Solanum nigrum

Poisonous part: Leaves and fruits.

Symptoms: Paralysis, dilated pupils, vomiting, stimulation of nervous system followed by depression, craving for water, diarrhea, loss of appetite and extreme weakness. Antidote/Treatment: Affected animals should be given general heart and nerve stimulants.

Sorghum vulgare, Sorghum

Symptoms: Sudden bloat, salivation, difficult respiration, stretched body, death. Antidote/Treatment: Drench immediately with any vegetable oil. (Note: This remedy is not foolproof and is not validated.) This is only effective when drenching is done immediately, as death can occur within ½-1 hour.