Diterpenoid alkaloid toxicosis in cattle in the Swiss Alps

Birgit Puschner, Marcia C. Booth, Elizabeth R. Tor, Arnold Odermatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Between 1995 and 1999 several cattle of a group of 80 heifers died acutely on a pasture in the Swiss Alps. The animals were found dead between July 9th and 15th each year. Only 1 animal was examined on post-mortem, and no significant lesions were found. Aconitum vulpera, A napellus, and Delphinium elatum were identified in the pasture. The presence of diterpenoid alkaloid-containing plants in the pasture, the rapid death of the animals, and the lack of pathologic lesions suggested diterpenoid alkaloid toxicosis as a cause of death. A multiresidue alkaloid screen using gas chromatography with a mass spectrometric detector was employed on rumen, abomasal, small intestine, and cecal contents from the I heifer. Deltaline, deltamine, and lycoctonine were identified. Aconitine was found in all gastrointestinal samples using a sensitive and highly specific liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry methodology for aconitine analysis. The findings of diterpenoid alkaloids in the gastrointestinal contents confirmed exposure to Delphinium and Aconitum spp, possibly resulting in sudden death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-10
Number of pages3
JournalVeterinary and Human Toxicology
Volume44
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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    Puschner, B., Booth, M. C., Tor, E. R., & Odermatt, A. (2002). Diterpenoid alkaloid toxicosis in cattle in the Swiss Alps. Veterinary and Human Toxicology, 44(1), 8-10.