Principal species include:
Lathyrus cicera (chickpea);
L. sativus (cultivated pea, common vetch);
L. pratensis (yellow meadow vetchling);
L. sylvestris (narrow-leaved everlasting pea, wild pea);
L. latifolius (everlasting pea);
L. odoratus (ornamental sweet pea).
A member of the plant family PAPILIONACEAE. Herbaceous plant with soft green leaves
ending in a simple tendril with stipules at the base and soft-petalled flowers. The
fruit develop into long, flattened seed pods.
Animals most affected
Cattle, horses, sheep, (pigs and dogs).
Ingestion of feed containing vetch seeds, or contaminated fodder; direct ingestion
of the pods and the seeds. Poisoning is very rare:
chronic ingestion results in the condition known as lathyrism.
Contains amino acids which are neurotoxic. Toxic doses not well established: cattle
and horses are the most sensitive species.
prolonged and involuntary muscle contractions, paraesthesia, local paralysis.
sweating, dyspnoea, colic, progressing towards general paralysis.
epistaxis, dyspnoea. In cattle
reduction in milk production, loss of weight;
possibility of death within 3-5 days.
congestion of the meninges;
haemorrhages in the gastric mucosac;
degeneration of the myocardium.
No antidote. Symptomatic care only:
muscle relaxants, if indicated.