Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira
versão impressa ISSN 0100-736X
CID, María Silvia et al. Diagnose of the ingestion of Asclepias mellodora St. Hil. by sheep through microhistological analysis of their digestive contents. Pesq. Vet. Bras. [online]. 2011, vol.31, n.2, pp. 111-116. ISSN 0100-736X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-736X2011000200003.
Asclepias mellodora St. Hil. is a native acute toxic species frequent in the grasslands of the Buenos Aires province, Argentina, whose toxicity had not been assessed until now. This study evaluates the minimal lethal dose of this species for sheep, and the possibility of microscopically recognizing its fragments in gastrointestinal contents as a complementary diagnostic tool in necropsies. Three Frisona sheep (average LW=55±4.5 kg) were dosed via an esophageal tube with each one of the following doses of asclepias: 8.0, 5.0, 2.0 and 0.8 g DM.kg LW-1. Sheep poisoned with the three higher doses died between 10 and 85 h after intoxication, but those receiving the lower dose did not. During necropsies we: 1) determined the dry weight of the contents of rumen+reticulum, omasum+abomasum, and large intestine, 2) estimated the percentages of asclepias fragments by microanalysis correcting for digestion effects on fragment recognition, and 3) calculated the total mass of asclepias in the digestive tract of each animal. For the three higher doses, the mass of asclepias identified in the total ingesta was 12.3±3.4% of the amount supplied, possibly because of the strong diarrhea its ingestion produced. The percentages of asclepias in rumen+reticulum did not differ from the average quantified for the entire tract. The results of this study indicate that the minimal lethal doses of asclepias for sheep is between 2.0 and 0.8g DM·kg LW-1, and that the microhistological analysis of the rumen+reticulum, the easiest region to sample, can be used to confirm the ingestion of this toxic species, although the estimated percentage will be not a good estimator of the ingested percentage.
Palavras-chave : Poisonous plants; Asclepias mellodora; Asclepiadaceae; plant poisoning; sheep; ingestion diagnosis; microhistology.