Citrullus colocynthis (bitter apple, gourd). A member of the plant family CUCURBITACEAE. Herbaceous plant with globular fleshy fruit with a hardened exterior skin.


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


[etiology.gif] Etiology
Ingestion of the plant, although cases are very rare.


[toxic.gif] Toxicity
Contains an alkaloid: colocynthine. Drying does not modify or reduce the toxicity of the plant.
Note:the alkaloid is very slowly excreted by animals: do not eat meat or meat products derived from poisoned animals.

Oral doses not well known:

LD pigs 0.25 g/kg per day (death in 25 days)
    10 g/kg (death in 4 h)


[clinical.gif] Clinical features
Minimal or moderate ingestion

Ingestion of large quantities


[lesions.gif] Lesions
Non-specific:


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


If only a small quantity has been ingested, the prognosis is generally favourable, less so for larger amounts.