Review on Cyanide Poisoning in Ruminants

Ufaysa Gensa


Cyanide is one of the most potent and rapidly acting inorganic poisons and it can cause toxicity in animals, principally in ruminants. Although cyanides are released to environment in various forms, the natural source of cyanide ion from plants that contain enough cyanogenic glycosides are the most important cause of hydrogen cyanide poisoning in ruminants. The objective of this paper is to review available information on cyanide poisoning in ruminants and to highlight its diagnosis, prevention and treatment options. The cyanide toxicity in ruminants is affected primarily by lethal dose, plant, environment, and animal factors. Ruminants are more susceptible to prussic acid poisoning than other domestic animals, due to more efficient hydrolysis of the cyanogenic glycosides in the rumen. The mechanism of cyanide intoxication involves, inhibition of oxidative metabolism and oxygen utilization of cells, by binding with heme form of cytochrome a3 (cytochrome oxidase) which is last enzyme in the respiratory electron transport chain. As result of this process, affected ruminants shows signs of acute cyanide intoxication mainly the reflection of cellular hypoxia including hyperventilation, decreased blood pressure, hypoxemia-induced convulsions, coma, shock, respiratory failure and death within few minutes to hours. Nevertheless, in most cases the affected animals die due to rapidly acting nature of the toxin; ruminants can be treated immediately with specific antidote. Combination of sodium nitrite and sodium thiosulfate is commonly dosed orally as antidote of choice. The use of appropriate prevention measures can reduce the risk from potentially toxic forages. The rapid administration of sodium thiosulphate alone or in combination with sodium nitrite intravenously (IV) to early noticed should be done to reduce losses of livestock.

Keywords: Cyanide, ruminants, toxicity, hydrogen cyanide;

DOI: 10.7176/JBAH/9-6-01

Publication date:March 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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