Aristolochia clematitis (Birthwort, Snakewort). A member of the plant family ARISTOLOCHIACEAE. Perennial plant with a horizontal root (rhizome), ridged stem and leaves shaped like upside-down hearts. Tubular dull yellow flowers and small, pear-shaped fruits.


[affected.gif]
Animals most affected
horses, (sheep, cattle).


[etiology.gif]
Etiology
Ingestion of contaminated forage (very common with lucerne-based fodder). Very large quantities must be consumed for poisoning to occur.


[toxic.gif] Toxicity
Contains aristolochine, an irritant, acidic alkaloid, which is found principally in the roots and the seeds. Toxic doses unknown.



[clinical.gif] Clinical features
Cardiac
Tachycardia, weak pulse.


Gastrointestinal
Anorexia, constipation.

Neurological
Ataxia, sluggishness, torpor, coma.


Genito-urinary
Polyuria.


Outcome often satisfactory, but recovery is slow.



[clinical.gif] Lesions
Acute inflammation and irritation of the urinary tract.



[treatm~1.gif] Treatment

No antidote. Symptomatic care only.