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Vet Hum Toxicol. 1993 Jun;35(3):237-53.

The effects of nitrate, nitrite, and N-nitroso compounds on animal health.

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Population Medicine Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824-1314.


The clinical signs of acute nitrate toxicity vary according to species. In general, ruminant animals develop methemoglobinemia while monogastric animals exhibit severe gastritis. Nitrate ingestion has also been linked to impairment of thyroid function, decreased feed consumption, and interference with vitamin A and E metabolism. Hematologic changes seen with chronic high nitrate exposure include both compensatory increases in red blood cells and anemia, along with increased neutrophils and eosinophils. Unlike nitrate, nitrite is capable of inducing methemoglobinemia in a wide range of species, ie cattle, sheep, swine, dogs, guinea pigs, rats, chickens and turkeys. In rats, chronic nitrite exposure causes pathologic changes in a variety of tissues, alterations in motor activity and brain electrical activity, and alters gastric mucosal absorption. Nitrite affects the metabolism of sulfonamide drugs in animals such as the pig, guinea pig, and rat. The N-nitroso compound dimethylnitrosamine causes toxic hepatosis in cattle, sheep, mink, and fox. Nitrosamines have been reported in cows milk and been found to pass into the milk of goats under experimental conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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