Experimental Tribulus terrestris poisoning in sheep: clinical, laboratory and pathological findings

Vet Res Commun. 2003 Jan;27(1):53-62. doi: 10.1023/a:1022010707704.


Eleven native sheep, 1-2 years old, of both sexes were randomly divided into two groups, 6 sheep being allocated to the experimental group and 5 serving as controls. The sheep in the experimental group were fed 80% Tribulus terrestris and 20% alfalfa hay and wheat straw, while the control sheep were given a mixture of 40% alfalfa hay and 60% wheat straw. Clinical signs of hepatogenous photosensitivity were observed from day 11, including reddening and crust formation on the muzzle, nose, ears and eyelids, depression, weight loss, icterus, conjunctivitis, and yellow discoloration of the urine. Laboratory findings on weekly samples indicated significant differences (p < 0.05) in white blood cell count, total plasma protein and fibrinogen, total and direct bilirubin, blood urea nitrogen and creatinine concentrations, and aspartate aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase activities. There were no significant differences in the packed cell volume, in the neutrophil, lymphocyte or eosinophil counts, or in the serum calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium or chloride concentrations. At necropsy of the experimental animals, there were various degrees of generalized icterus and the livers were swollen and discolored by bile pigment. Histopathological examination revealed varying amounts of crystalloid material in the bile ducts and renal tubules, hepatocellular degeneration, biliary fibrosis and proliferation, renal tubular necrosis and focal necrosis of cardiac muscle.

MeSH terms

  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Animals
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Iran
  • Liver Diseases / blood
  • Liver Diseases / etiology
  • Liver Diseases / pathology
  • Liver Diseases / veterinary*
  • Male
  • Photosensitivity Disorders / blood
  • Photosensitivity Disorders / etiology
  • Photosensitivity Disorders / pathology
  • Photosensitivity Disorders / veterinary*
  • Random Allocation
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases / blood*
  • Sheep Diseases / etiology
  • Sheep Diseases / pathology
  • Tribulus / poisoning*


  • Creatinine
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Bilirubin