Grayanotoxin I Intoxication in Pet Pigs

Vet Pathol. 2018 Nov;55(6):896-899. doi: 10.1177/0300985818789482. Epub 2018 Aug 2.


Contaminated honey is a common cause of grayanotoxin intoxication in humans. Intoxication of animals, especially cattle, is usually due to ingestion of plants of the Ericaceae family, such as Rhododendron. Here, we report the ingestion of Pieris japonica as the cause of grayanotoxin I intoxication in 2 miniature pigs that were kept as pets. The pigs showed sudden onset of pale oral mucosa, tachycardia, tachypnea, hypersalivation, tremor, and ataxia that progressed to lateral recumbency. The pathological examination of one pig revealed no specific indications for intoxication except for the finding of plant material of Pieris japonica in the intestine. Grayanotoxin I was identified in the ingested plant, gastric content, blood, liver, bile, kidney, urine, lung, and skeletal muscle via HPLC-MS/MS. Grayanotoxin I should be considered as a differential etiological diagnosis in pigs with unspecific signs and discovery of ingested plant material as the only indication in the pathologic examination.

Keywords: HPLC-MS/MS; Japanese andromeda; andromedotoxin; ericaceae; lily-of-the-valley shrub; pieris japonica; swine; toxicology.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diterpenes / analysis
  • Diterpenes / poisoning*
  • Ericaceae / poisoning*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Plant Poisoning / etiology
  • Plant Poisoning / veterinary*
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / etiology*
  • Swine, Miniature*


  • Diterpenes
  • grayanotoxin I