Fetal death of dogs after the ingestion of a soil conditioner.Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2011 Jan; 63(1-2):113-7.ET
Castor beans (Ricinus communis) contain ricin, which is one of the most toxic substances of plant origin. Ricin toxicosis has been reported in different countries with usually ingestion of castor beans or plants in both animals and humans. However, ricin toxicosis by ingestion of some products containing castor oil cake has rarely been reported. This paper describes outbreaks of dog death by ricin toxicosis after accidental ingestion of the same soil conditioner. Fifteen dogs showed toxic symptoms such as severe vomiting, abdominal pain and hemorrhagic diarrhea, and then thirteen dogs died in a few days. The soil conditioner dogs ingested consisted of 10% castor oil cake containing ricin. On the basis of clinical signs, laboratory and pathologic findings, a diagnosis of ricin toxicosis was established in the present case. In comparison with previous cases by ingestion of castor beans, the dogs' morbidity was very high in the present case. The ingestion of castor oil cake may be more dangerous to life than the castor beans. It is because mortality by ingestion of castor beans depends on the degree of mastication of the beans, whereas ricin in oil cake is easily absorbed from the stomach and the intestines. As ricin is a heat-labile toxin, products containing ricin or oil cake should be properly treated with heat and have written caution sentences about toxicosis, and be kept out of reach of domestic animals and children.