A recent series of deaths in previously healthy dogs in Victoria, Australia associated with the ingestion of raw meat contaminated by indospicine derived from native Australian plants of the Indigofera species draws attention to the potential that exists for herbal toxicity in domestic animals. Although the efficacy of herbal remedies generally remains unproven in domestic animals, herbal preparations are being increasingly used as supplements and treatments. Issues with incorrect ingredients, inadequate processing, faulty, incomplete or inaccurate product labelling, contamination with toxins, adulteration with undeclared pharmaceutical agents and herb-herb interactions are well recognized as causes of adverse effects in humans. However, apart from of the effects of noxious weed species, the literature on herbal toxicity in domestic animals is sparse. Thus, the forensic evaluation of cases of suspected poisoning in domestic animals should also encompass an accurate description the type and dose of any herbal preparations that may have been recently administered.
Keywords: Animal death; Herbal medicine; Toxicity; Veterinary forensic pathology.
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