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White snakeroot poisoning in goats: Variations in toxicity with different plant chemotypes

T.Z. Davis, B.L. Stegelmeier, S.T. Lee, M.G. Collett, B.T. Green, J.A. Pfister, T.J. Evans, D.S. Grum, S. Buck
Research in veterinary science 2016 v.106 pp. 29-36
Ageratina altissima, blood serum, chemotypes, exercise, goats, ketones, lesions (animal), muscles, poisoning, poisonous plants, toxicity, toxins
Tremetone and possibly other benzofuran ketones are believed to be the toxic compounds in white snakeroot. However, disease has not been reproduced with purified toxins and the concentrations of the benzofuran ketones in white snakeroot populations that cause toxicosis have not been documented. The objectives of this study were to compare the toxicity of seven plant populations, better characterize the clinical and pathologic changes of poisoning, and correlate intoxication with benzofuran ketone content. Four of the seven white snakeroot collections were toxic at the dose and duration used in the study. Affected goats became exercise intolerant, had significant serum enzyme changes and histological lesions in the large appendicular muscles. The incidence and severity of poisoning was not correlated with total doses of tremetone or total benzofuran ketone concentrations suggesting they may not be closely involved in producing toxicity and the possible involvement of an unidentified toxin. The results also demonstrate that white snakeroot populations vary chemically and toxicologically.