Prunus laurocerasus (almond laurel, royal laurel, milk laurel). A member of the plant family ROSACEAE. Vigorous evergreen shrub or tree with glossy green leaves and erect clusters of white flowers. Black, cherry-like fruits. Plant extensively used in parks, amenity areas and in gardens as a hedging or ornamental plant.

[affected.gif] Animals most affected
Cattle, sheep, horses, (zoo animals, dogs).

[etiology.gif] Etiology
Ingestion of stems and leaves off the plant or of discarded hedge trimmings (herbivores). Chewing and/or ingestion of leaves (dogs).

[toxic.gif] Toxicity
Contains a cyanogenetic heteroside: prulaurasoside. The plant is very toxic due to the high content of HCN in the leaves: 1-2 g/kg, levels which are maximal in times of drought.

Oral doses:
cattle 0.5-1 kg green leaves
  sheep 0.2kg

[clinical.gif] Clinical features
Onset of signs often sudden, death in 1-2 minutes, preceded only by a few convulsions or paddling movements.
If consumption is moderate or small

If a minimal amount is ingested

[lesions.gif] Lesions

[treatm~1.gif] Treatment
Often not feasible as the onset of symptoms is so rapid. The following may be attempted but are of debatable efficacy:

Laboratory investigations
Stomach or ruminal contents: