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Confirmed Datura poisoning in a horse most probably due to D. ferox in contaminated tef hay : clinical communication

R. Gerber, T.W. Naude, S.S. De Kock
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 77, No 2 | a350 | DOI: | © 2006 R. Gerber, T.W. Naude, S.S. De Kock | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 June 2006 | Published: 07 June 2006

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R. Gerber,
T.W. Naude,
S.S. De Kock,

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Two out of a group of 23 mares exposed to tef hay contaminated with Datura ferox (and possibly D. stramonium) developed colic. The 1st animal was unresponsive to conservative treatment, underwent surgery for severe intestinal atony and had to be euthanased. The 2nd was less seriously affected, responded well to analgesics and made an uneventful recovery. This horse exhibited marked mydriasis on the first 2 days of being poisoned and showed protracted, milder mydriasis for a further 7 days. Scopolamine was chemically confirmed in urine from this horse for 3 days following the colic attack, while atropine could just be detected for 2 days. Scopolamine was also the main tropane alkaloid found in the contaminating plant material, confirming that this had most probably been a case of D. ferox poisoning. Although Datura intoxication of horses from contaminated hay was suspected previously, this is the 1st case where the intoxication could be confirmed by urine analysis for tropane alkaloids. Extraction and detection methods for atropine and scopolamine in urine are described employing enzymatic hydrolysis followed by liquid-liquid extraction and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS).


Atropine; Colic; Datura Ferox; Datura Stramonium; Hay Contamination; Horses; Hyoscine; Hyoscyamine; Intestinal Atony; Scopolamine; Tropane Alkaloids


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