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The effect of co-administration of death camas (Zigadenus spp.) and low larkspur (Delphinium spp.) in cattle

Kevin D. Welch, Benedict T. Green, Dale R. Gardner, Clinton A. Stonecipher, James A. Pfister, Daniel Cook
Toxins 2016 v.8 no.1 pp. -
Delphinium bicolor, Zigadenus, acute toxicity, alkaloids, blood serum, cattle, exercise, heart rate, muscle fatigue, poisoning, poisonous plants, rangelands, toxins
In many rangeland settings, there is more than one potential poisonous plant. Two poisonous plants that are often found growing simultaneously in the same location in North American rangelands are death camas (Zigadenus spp.) and low larkspur (Delphinium spp.). The objective of this study was to determine if co-administration of death camas would exacerbate the toxicity of low larkspur in cattle. Cattle dosed with 2.0 g of death camas/kg BW showed slight frothing and lethargy, whereas cattle dosed with both death camas and low larkspur showed increased clinical signs of poisoning. Although qualitative differences in clinical signs of intoxication in cattle co-treated with death camas and low larkspur were observed, there were not any significant quantitative differences in heart rate or exercise-induced muscle fatigue. Co-treatment with death camas and low larkspur did not affect the serum zygacine kinetics, however, there was a difference in the larkspur alkaloid kinetics in the co-exposure group. Overall, the results from this study suggest that co-exposure to death camas and low larkspur is not significantly more toxic to cattle than exposure to the plants individually. The results from this study increase our knowledge and understanding regarding the acute toxicity of death camas and low larkspur in cattle.