A broad-spectrum inorganic protectant fungicide and foliar feed, extensively used
in the form of a dry powder for dusting (as titrated sulphur or sublimed sulphur),
or a wettable powder for spraying (micronized sulphur).
Animals most affected
Cattle, (sheep, goats, dogs, hares).
Accidental ingestion of the agrochemical product (through poor or careless storage
of sacks). Use of micronized sulphur instead of flowers of sulphur (believed by some
breeders to improve the condition of the fur of animals).
Titrated or sublimed sulphur does not present a particular toxicological problem.
Only micronized sulphur appears to be responsible for incidents of sulphur poisoning.
Oral doses in mg/kg:
gastrointestinal effects: tympanism, colic with or without acute rectal spasms
abdominal pains and cramps, anorexia,diarrhoea (occasionally haemorrhagic) or
neurological effects: dullness, lassitude prostration with occasional ataxia,
pulmonary effects: intermittent dyspnoea
tympanism and diarrhoea (frequently haemorrhagic), anorexia, dullness, prostration.
intense gastric effects: diarrhoea with severe colic;
malaise, lassitude, ataxia, occasional convulsions, sweating, intermittent dyspnoea.
congestion of the stomach and intestines;
haemorrhagic suffusions and petechiae along the gastrointestinal tract (occasionally
on the surface of the bladder).
In a herd of 15- to 16-month-old heifers, the owner noticed one of the stock with
a lateral decubitus, extremely distended. After trocarization to treat the bloat,
the animal showed signs of dullness, lassitude and difficulty in getting up off the
ground and had an ataxic gait. The heifer died within several hours.
A second animal also died and a third had a staggering gait. A check of the area
located a sack of micronized sulphur which, inadvertently opened, had tipped over
onto some hay. Six bullocks had eaten 34 kg micronized sulphur from sacks that had
been discarded by the farmer. The animals presented with hypothermia, colic and intense
abdominal pain, acute rectal spasms, constipation and hyperpnoea. One bull died in
several hours; intestinal and pulmonary congestion were noted at autopsy.
A breeder was in the practice of giving his horses a daily dose of flowers of sulphur
to improve their coats. In the belief that all of sulphur were harmless, he took
precautions in how he stored micronized sulphur on-site. As a result, one night two
sack were torn open by the horses. By the following morning, two animals presented
with ataxia, diarrhoea and extremely violent colic followed by convulsions and respiraratory
difficulties. One of the horses died within 12-24 hours, the other 3 days later.
The total amount of micronized sulphur absorbed was estimated to be 10 kg