Quail consumption can be harmful

J Emerg Med. 2011 Nov;41(5):499-502. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2008.03.045. Epub 2008 Oct 28.


Background: Intoxication due to quail consumption is rarely seen. Such a toxicological syndrome (also called coturnism) occurs during the migration of quails from north to south, when they consume hemlock seeds. The clinical symptoms and laboratory results are indicative of acute rhabdomyolysis.

Objectives: Acute rhabdomyolysis has a wide range of etiologies. Coturnism is a rare cause of acute rhabdomyolysis that can be lethal due to renal failure and shock. To avoid severe complications, coturnism may be considered if the history is appropriate.

Case report: We report four cases of coturnism from quail consumption; the patients were admitted with some combination of symptoms including muscle tenderness, extremity pain, nausea, and vomiting. They were treated with vigorous isotonic crystalloid hydration and urine alkalinization. Consequently, the laboratory results returned to normal ranges and the clinical symptoms disappeared.

Conclusion: Although coturnism is a rarely seen toxicological syndrome that causes rhabdomyolysis, we present this case to increase awareness that it may present with symptoms of muscle tenderness, extremity pain, nausea, and vomiting after quail consumption.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meat / poisoning*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Plants, Toxic / poisoning
  • Quail*
  • Rhabdomyolysis / etiology*
  • Seeds / poisoning
  • Turkey
  • Vomiting / etiology
  • Young Adult