Fruit of Malus pumila (eating apple). A member of the plant family ROSACEAE.


[affected.gif] Animals most affected
Cattle, (horses).



[etiology.gif] Etiology
Ingestion of very large quantities of apples (from orchards or following harvesting), or of the waste from pressed apples. Cattle are extremely partial to the fruit.



[toxic.gif] Toxicity
Overall there are no toxic substances in apples. Even the amount of alcohol produced by fermentation of the ripe fruit in the rumen is not likely to be sufficient to have a clinical effect on the animal. However, the bacterial fermentation of fruit sugars in the rumen can cause an acidosis.



[clinical.gif] Clinical features
Vary according to the quantity ingested:
Mild effects
Anorexia, lack of rumination, diarrhoea, fall in milk production. Favourable outcome within several days.


Moderate effects
Unsteady or staggering gait, incoordination, hyperreflexia, decubitus, dyspnoea and tachycardia, foetid black stools, diarrhoea, with belching or eructations redolent of fermented apples; urine has an unpleasant odour.


Severe effects
Pronounced depression, coma, decubitus, mydriasis, bradycardia. Rapid death possible within several hours.



[lesions.gif] Lesions
Non-specific:


[treatm~1.gif] Treatment
No antidote. Symptomatic care only:


[case.gif] Case summaries
A herd of Normandy dairy cows had been grazing in an orchard for several days. After a violent overnight storm, a large quantity of both ripe and unripe apples had fallen to the ground. In the morning when the farmer came to take in the cows for milking, he noted that 12 (out of 23) appeared 'drunk', with ataxia and a staggering gait; four of them had profuse black, liquid diarrhoea; three had a moderate tympanism, with a concommitant lack of rumination.
In the following 2 hours, two of the affected cows went into lateral decubitus, with their heads either thrown back or pressed down against their chests. The veterinary surgeon administered iv calcium gluconate, together with caffeine. Those animals which were minimally affected recovered fully within 24 hours; the two most severely affected cows had persistent gastric problems (diarrhoea, lack of rumination), despite an otherwise remarkable overall improvement within 38 - 48 hours. Milk yields were restored to normal after 9 - 10 days.