Clinical Veterinary Toxicology is a handbook for all veterinary surgeons, offering
practical advice on the diagnosis, treatment and management of animal poisoning.
It is an exceptional book for while it relies on a background of published literature,
and cites data where relevant, it is, in essence, a distillation of the clinical
experience of the authors' department.
The modern veterinary scientist requires a published series on which to base his
diagnosis and treatment. The Centre National d'Informations Toxicologiques Veterinaires
(CNITV) has such a series which at the time of publication of the French edition
of this work stood at just over 38000 cases. These might be pathological laboratory
submissions, research in progress, or admitted clinical cases, but the greatest number
of cases were obtained as a result of the strong collaborative relationship which
has been established between the Centre and the veterinary profession.
The book is the result of analysing the data from the 38000 reported cases, providing
about 400 commentaries on an enormous range of toxic substances, including the main
poisonous plants, pesticides, pollutants and household and other products likely
to cause poisoning in animals.
Readers might be surprised at some of the monographs which may differ from their
own knowledge and experience. Divergences from other sources need explanation and
it is hoped that presentation of the data from the CNITV, in English, will prompt
further investigation into these differences.
As editor I have not expanded the text where there is a wealth of other material.
For example, adding even some of the material available on lead poisoning in English
swans would, at the very least, have unbalanced the style of presentation. Where
significant national differences occur (e.g. ragwort), these have already been noted
in the original French text and are reproduced here. The aim of Clinical Veterinary
Toxicology has been to produce a faithful translation, rather than exhibit my own
The book describes both acute and chronic poisoning syndromes but is not concerned
with the possible longer term effects such as carcinogenicity or teratogenicity.
It is in this context that phrases such as 'not toxic to fish' should be read The
style is deliberately short and succinct, containing only essential details, to allow
the practitioner quick reference when needed.
Man's ability to synthesize novel chemicals and his subsequent exposure to these
chemicals has greatly increased since the start of the industrial era. With accompanying
urbanization came detailed morbidity and mortality data. Balls (1991) noted that
to test the 12860 chemicals currently produced in quantities of more than 450 tonnes
per year would require more than 8 500 ECU and over ten million laboratory animals.
Such facts explain why the LD50 for linuron is quoted to three significant
figures, but the entry for bleach can state 'toxic doses not known.'. Throughout,
Blood and Studdert (1988) has been used as the prime arbiter on correct technical
Whilst some of the names of proprietary medicines given in the French text have been
changed to English names, the basic therapeutic recommendations have not been altered.
It is important to realise that the permitted use of chemicals and medicines can
vary between countries and can change over time. In particular many countries have
increasingly strict regulations on what substances may be administered to animals
that are to be used for food consumption. This book should be read taking into consideration
local and current regulations.
Included in the editor's duties is the pleasant task of thanking those who have assisted.
With a project as long and detailed as this many people have encouraged and advised,
if not participated directly.
First I must acknowledge Sandy Whitehead who translated the manuscript, and Madeleine
Ball who typed much of it.
I owe a great debt to Glyn Volans of the National Poisons Unit for initially encouraging
my interest in poisons information services. I am also indebted to Guy Lorgue and
his colleagues at Lyons for fostering that interest, as well as for their support
and hospitality during the translation. Alexander Campbell, manager of VPIS in London,
very kindly provided the data on enquiries received by his service and allowed its
reproduction here. I thank him for that and for having provided other information
during the course of the book's editing. I also thank him and our fellow members
of VPIS's Veterinary Poisons Information Advisory Group for their encouragement throughout
The assistance of the librarians and staff of the Wellcome Library at the Royal College
of Veterinary Surgeons and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Library was invaluable.
Claire McMurtrie and Richard Miles of Blackwell Science ensured that the draft texts
eventually were rendered as this book, for which they earn my thanks.