Spartium junceum L. poisoning in small ruminants


Spartium junceum L.
Toxic plant

How to Cite

Ariano, A., Costagliola, A., D’Ambola, M., Cortese, L., Pietrobattista, L., Di Francesco, G., Salucci, S., Iovane, V., Paciello, O., & Severino, L. (2020). Spartium junceum L. poisoning in small ruminants. Veterinaria Italiana, 55(4), 369–373. https://doi.org/10.12834/VetIt.1696.8973.2


An outbreak of neurological disorders in a flock of 20 sheep coming from a rural farm in Civitella Roveto, Italy, occurred in winter 2015. All the animals showed tonic-clonic convulsions followed by muscle paralysis associated with dilated pupils, tremor, tachycardia, tachypnea and diarrhea. The presence of bundles of dry broom of Spartium junceum L. in the feed, eaten by the animals supported the hypothesis of plant intoxication. Two animals died after worsening of clinical signs. The anatomopathological findings and the laboratory results ruled out viral or bacterial infections or accidental exposure to other toxics. Phytochemical study showed the presence of large amount of cytisine, a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist, in all parts of the plant eaten by the animals. Clinical and pathological findings, the complete remission of clinical signs after the exclusion of dry broom from the diet, together with the results of phytochemical analyses results corroborated the hypothesis of S. junceum L. intoxication.



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