Atropa belladonna (belladonna, devil's cherries, divale, dwayberry, great morel). A genus of the plant family SOLANACEAE. Herbaceous plant with perennial thick, white, fleshy root and purple coloured stem. Leaves are a dull dark green, oval in shape. Flowers are dark purple tinged with green, bell-shaped and pendant. The fruit is a shiny, smooth black berry, set in a characteristic, five-cleft calyx. The berries are very sweet and juicy, each containing several seeds.


[affected.gif] Animals most affected
Cattle, sheep, goats and dogs. Cats are extremely sensitive to the plant; goats are resistant to the toxic principles.


[etiology.gif] Etiology
Poisoning is rare, but occurs following direct ingestion of the berries or of contaminated fodder. Dogs are the target of deliberate poisoning.


[toxic.gif] Toxicity
Contains two alkaloids: atropine and L-hyoscyamine which are found in all parts of the plant, but are most concentrated in the berries.
Toxicity varies according to the vegetative state of the plant, and is maximal during the fruiting stage. Drying the plant does not reduce its toxicity.
Note: the alkaloids can pass into the milk of lactating animals.

Toxic doses are not well known:
LD horses 150 g fresh leaves
  cattle 120 g dried roots



[clinical.gif] Clinical features
Anticholinergic action:

If a very large quantity has been ingested
(acute or subacute poisoning):


[lesions.gif] Lesions
Non-specific.


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

In the dog: