Wide variety of species, of which those most significant in veterinary toxicology
Euphorbia lathyrus (spurge, caper spurge);
Euphorbia helioscopia (sun spurge);
Euphorbia cyparissias (cypress spurge);
Euphorbia peplus (petty spurge);
Euphorbia amygdaloides (wood spurge);
Euphorbia macu Jata (spotted spurge);
Euphorbia prostrata (caustic creeper, creeping spurge);
Euphorbia uralensis (Russian spurge).
All belong to the plant family EUPHORBIACEAE. Monoecious
herbaceous plants with a milky sap, green-yellow inflorescences of small flowers
(a number of male flowers and one female flower). Fruit are elongated, three-valved
capsules containing several oval seeds.
Animals most affected
Cattle, goats, (sheep).
Ingestion of contaminated hay (the green plant has a very bitter, acrid taste, generally
rejected by animals).
Contains an irritant milky latex which includes several resins, euphorbone, euphorbo-resene,
euphorbic acid and an acrid substance not yet fully identified.
Toxicity of the plant is hardly modified by cutting or drying. Toxic doses not known.
Note: milk from animals poisoned by the Euphorbia
species will be toxic.
irritation of the buccal mucous membranes and lips, extreme salivation;
vomiting, diarrhoea, followed by
shaking, ataxia, dyspnoea, possibly convulsions;
death may occur within a few hours, but more usually improvement after several
No antidote. Symptomatic care only:
oral adsorbents, gastric demulcents;