[affected.gif] Animals most affected
Sheep, cattle.


[etiology.gif] Etiology

In some countries (Australia, New Zealand) there are particular plants (e.g. Heliotropum europaeum) which contain very specific alkaloids which, when ingested, are capable of altering the metabolism of the animal's liver cells, increasing their uptake of copper from the diet.


[toxic.gif] Toxicity
The compound is hepatotoxic. Toxic doses consist of repeated or prolonged ingestion of fodder containing 15-20 ppm copper, expressed as dry weight of the feedstuff.
Important note: in the body there is an antagonistic relationship between molybdenum and copper. A lack of molybdenum in the diet (levels at less than 1-2 ppm/dry weight) can cause copper poisoning despite normal copper levels in the diet (8-12 ppm/ dry weight).


[clinical.gif] Clinical features
Presentation of fulminating, severe jaundice with:


[lesions.gif] Lesions


[treatm~1.gif] Treatment
Once jaundice is evident, treatment is unlikely to be effective. Before jaundice presents (or where there have already been several cases of jaundice in a herd), the following regimens may be instituted.

Antidotes: chelation therapy


[labinv~1.gif] Laboratory investigations

Note: whether the level of copper is normal or abnormal, measure the levels of molybdenum to check if there is a deficiency of this element.