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In the west region of Rio Grande do Norte State, Brazil, several outbreaks of poisoning in sheep have been attributed to consumption of Blutaparon portulacoides, known as “pirrixiu,” “bredo-de-praia” and “capotiraguá.” However, there is no work in the literature evaluating the occurrence of poisoning by this plant. Thus, the present study aimed to determine whether B. portulacoides could produce poisoning in sheep. The study involved three healthy female crossbred sheep, aged 6 months old, weighing approximately 15 kg. They were fed, as exclusive food, bales of B. portulacoides for 3 months. The plant and the water were offered ad libitum during all the experimental period. The animals were monitored daily for determination of possible clinical alterations. After three months of this administration, the sheep were sacrificed, for collection of fragments of intestines, liver, kidneys, rumen, reticule, omasum and abomasum for histopathological analysis. Aerial parts of B. portulacoides were also collected for determination of the concentrations of sodium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, cupper, zinc, iron and manganese ions. It was found that the exclusive feeding of sheep with B. portulacoides is responsible for disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract, characterized by the softening of feces and lesions in the intestinal epithelium (unfastening of the intestinal villous epithelium, hyperplasic caliciform cells, inflammatory infiltrate in the submucosa and infiltrate of mononuclear cells in the lamina propria). The possible mechanism of the poisoning is osmotic disequilibria in the gastrointestinal tract promoted by the deficiency of sodium and excess of magnesium, potassium and calcium in the plant.

Sheep; poisonous plants; Blutaparon portulacoides

Instituto Biológico Av. Conselheiro Rodrigues Alves, 1252 - Vila Mariana - São Paulo - SP, 04014-002 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil