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Ribeiro Filho et al., 2012. Acta Scientiae Veterinariae, 40 (4): art. 1083

Document reference 
Ribeiro Filho, M. R.; Soto-Blanco, B., 2012. Poisoning by cashew apple (Anacardium occidentale L.) in cattle. Acta Scientiae Veterinariae, 40 (4): art. 1083
Document description 

The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is a plant grown in tropical regions of the world for production of cashew nuts, one of the most traded on the international market for edible nuts. The cashew apple is used for the production of various foods such as juices and sweets, but it can also be used in animal feed in the regions that cashew is planted. The cashew apple can be used directly as feed, but usually it is dried for later use. However, many farmers have reported the occurrence of poisoning in cattle promoted by the cashew apples, but this poisoning has not been described yet. Thus, this study aimed to describe the poisoning by A. occidentale in cattle. Eight farms that often had cases of poisoning by cashew at Rio Grande do Norte state, Brazil, six at the municipality of Mossoro and two at the municipality of Serra do Mel, were visited. The farmers were asked whether the animals were fed with cashew apples and the amount supplied to animal, the occurrence of cases of poisoning, species affected, clinical manifestations (clinical signs, severity and duration of signs), variation in age of affected animals and instituting any treatment. Furthermore, in one of the farms in the city of Mossoro, there were two cattle naturally poisoned by cashew apples given as feed. The epidemiological survey and clinical evaluation of affected animals were recorded. For experimental administration, cashew apples fallen on the ground on a farm were collected. These were stored at room temperature for 48 h. Before administration, the cashew nuts were separated from the cashew apples. Two Holstein bull calves, aged one year old, that had never previously been fed with cashew apples, were used. After fasting overnight, 30 kg of cashew apple in the trough was offered to the calves. The animals were monitored for 24 h, and the volume of cashew apples consumed by each animal and occurrence of any clinical sign were recorded. The interviews showed that the cashew apple was widely used for animal feeding during the season of nut production because of its very low cost. Animals fed the cashew apples were mostly cattle, and less frequently, sheep and goats. Not all animals fed with cashew apples presented poisoning. Adult animals were reported by farmers as the most affected. The toxicosis was considered quite evident, as attendants were unanimous in reporting clinical signs in comparison with the appearance of alcoholic intoxication. It was verified that cashew might promote poisoning in cattle, and the main clinical signs were lethargy, staggering gait and prostration. The cashew apple could promote poisoning in cattle. Poisoning by cashew presented here was similar to poisoning by the marula fruit (Sclerocarya birrea), a plant from the Anacardiaceae family, which was of the same family as the cashew tree. The marula poisoning was attributed to the alcohol formed by the fermentation of carbohydrates in the fruits, thus the cashew apple poisoning was probably due to ethanol production in the rumen by fermentation of cashew carbohydrates, resulting in alcoholic intoxication. The poisoning by A. occidentale was reversible, and it seemed to be non-lethal

Citation key 
Ribeiro Filho et al., 2012