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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Poisonous Plant Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #360015

Research Project: Understanding and Mitigating the Adverse Effects of Poisonous Plants on Livestock Production Systems

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: Animal and plant factors which affect larkspur toxicosis in cattle: Sex, age, breed, and plant chemotype

Author
item Green, Benedict - Ben
item Keele, John
item Bennett, Gary
item Gardner, Dale
item Stonecipher, Clinton - Clint
item Cook, Daniel
item Pfister, James

Submitted to: Toxicon
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/22/2019
Publication Date: 4/25/2019
Citation: Green, B.T., Keele, J.W., Bennett, G.L., Gardner, D.R., Stonecipher, C.A., Cook, D., Pfister, J.A. 2019. Animal and plant factors which affect larkspur toxicosis in cattle: Sex, age, breed, and plant chemotype. Toxicon. 165:31-39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2019.04.013.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxicon.2019.04.013

Interpretive Summary: This manuscript discusses factors that affect cattle responses to toxic larkspur. They are cattle breed, sex, and age. Plant factors also play a role in the poisoning of cattle, and their interaction with animal factors must be considered in order to help refine management practices to mitigate cattle losses to toxic larkspur.

Technical Abstract: Larkspur (Delphinium spp.) poisoning is a long-term problem for cattle grazing on rangelands of western North America. A series of experiments has demonstrated that non-toxicological factors including sex, age, cattle breed, and plant chemotype affect cattle responses to larkspur. For example, Angus heifers are more susceptible to larkspur intoxication than are steers or bulls. Yearling Angus steers are more susceptible to intoxication than are two-year old animals. Beef breeds of cattle are more susceptible to larkspur intoxication than dairy breeds. In addition to animal factors, larkspur plant alkaloid composition (chemotype) affects the intoxication of cattle with differences in larkspur chemotype toxicity due to the ratios of N-(methylsuccinimido) anthranoyllycoctonine (MSAL)-type alkaloids to non-MSAL-type alkaloids and the concentrations of those alkaloids in the plant material. These non-toxicological factors are important in cattle management to reduce risk and death losses on larkspur-infested rangelands. However, our understanding of the mechanisms behind animal factors needs to be expanded to better utilize animal-based differences to reduce risks. Likewise, more studies need to be conducted on plant-based factors and their interaction with animal susceptibility to help refine management practices to mitigate cattle losses.