Cicuta virosa (cowbane). A member of the plant family UMBELLIFERAE. Perennial
herbaoeous plant growing in damp areas. Tuberous white, fleshy rootstock with small
fibrous roots growing off it. Hollow ridged, Segmented stem with feathery, divided
leaves and toothed margins (resemble celery leaves and redolent of parsley). Flowers
are dense, compact, white inflorescences.
Animals most affected
Ingestion of tubers exposed during draining and ditching works, and clearing of wetlands.
Contains cicutoxin, a convulsive toxin related to oenanthotoxin and found principally
in the rootstock. Other toxins include the volatile alkaloid, cicutine. Drying of
the plant does not reduce its overall toxicity.
frothing at the mouth;
death within minutes.
excitement, convulsions then depression;
anorexia, diarrhoea or constipation;
possibility of death in several hours.
Non-specific and of little significance.
No antidote. Symptomatic care, which may prove to be problematic:
emergency gastrotomy to remove the roots;
sedatives or tranquillizers if indicated.
Contents of the stomach or rumen to identify the roots.