Fruit of Malus pumila (eating
apple). A member of the plant family ROSACEAE.
Animals most affected
Ingestion of very large quantities of apples (from orchards or following
harvesting), or of the waste from pressed apples. Cattle are extremely partial to
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.
Vary according to the quantity ingested:
Anorexia, lack of rumination, diarrhoea, fall in milk production. Favourable
outcome within several days.
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.
Pronounced depression, coma, decubitus, mydriasis, bradycardia. Rapid
death possible within several hours.
hepatic and renal congestion.
No antidote. Symptomatic care only:
cardiac stimulants, e.g. caffeine;
iv calcium gluconate.
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.