(sodium or potassium)


[affected.gif] Animals most affected
All animals


[etiology.gif] Etiology

See also individual entries for poisonous plants containing cyanogenetic glycosides
Note: cyanides have been used to kill fish in large quantities during unauthorized fishing. It is possible to eat fish killed by this means once it has been cooked (hydrocyanic acid breaks down and volatilizes at temperatures of 160C).


[toxic.gif] Toxicity
Inhibits enzymes, particularly those of the respiratory cycle.
Toxic doses in mg/kg:
LD all animals approx 1



[clinical.gif] Clinical features
Onset may be immediate with death in several minutes preceded by convulsions, spasms and paddling movements.
Acute syndrome with death within 20 to 30 minutes of exposure:

If amounts ingested are small or of low concentration, recovery is most likely within several hours, without sequelae.


[toxic.gif] Lesions


[treatm~1.gif] Treatment
Often not applicable or possible due to the rapid onset of clinical effects; furthermore, efficacy not proven:



[labinv~1.gif] Laboratory investigations
To determine the level of HCN involved. Care should be taken as the compound is highly volatile and it is essential that the sample for analysis is very fresh or frozen immediately: