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J Anim Sci. 1991 Jul;69(7):2932-40.

Altered metabolic hormones, impaired nitrogen retention, and hepatotoxicosis in lambs fed Kochia scoparia hay.

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  • 1New Mexico State University, Las Cruces 88003-0003.


Livestock grazing lush Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad, sometimes experience BW loss, hyperbilirubinemia, photosensitization, and polyuria. Animals fed kochia hay may exhibit milder or negligible signs of toxicosis but fail to utilize nutrients efficiently. To characterize early aspects of kochia toxicosis and to evaluate prospective treatments, 12 wether lambs (34 +/- 3 kg) were fed prebloom kochia hay (83% OM, 15% CP, and 6.3% total oxalate) and treated as follows: 1) no treatment; 2) drenched daily with aqueous ZnSO4 to provide 30 mg of Zn/kg of BW); 3) injected i.p. twice weekly with N-acetyl-L-cysteine (CYS) in saline (21 mg/kg of BW) plus trans-stilbene oxide (TSO) in corn oil (27 mg/kg of BW); and 4) treated as 2) plus 3). Treatments were imposed factorially (2 x 2) with three lambs per treatment. Kochia intake (ad libitum) averaged .57 kg/d (1.7% of BW) for 80 d, and digestibility of DM and CP were 44 and 59%, respectively, at wk 4, but BW loss was severe (6 to 11 kg/lamb). After 14 d, serum insulin and prolactin were decreased (P less than .05) below initial values (.48 to .11 and 102 to 28 ng/ml, respectively). Serum somatotropin increased (P less than .05) from 4.5 to 6.8 ng/ml at 4 wk. Serum total bilirubin increased threefold at 3 wk (P less than .05) and declined slightly thereafter through 10 wk. Early changes in serum enzymes reflected mild hepatotoxicosis without cholestasis, whereas histopathology (at 80 d) showed diffuse hepatocyte swelling and nephrosis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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