alexa The Diagnostic Approach and Public Health Implications of Phorate Poisoning In a California Dairy Herd
ISSN: 2161-0495

Journal of Clinical Toxicology
Open Access

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Case Report

The Diagnostic Approach and Public Health Implications of Phorate Poisoning In a California Dairy Herd

Birgit Puschner1*, Steven Gallego1, Elizabeth Tor1, Dennis Wilson2, Dirk Holstege3 and Frank Galey4

1Department of Molecular Biosciences and the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA

2California Department of Food and Agriculture, Animal Health Branch, Sacramento, CA, USA

3Analytical Laboratory, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA, USA

4College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, USA

*Corresponding Author:
Birgit Puschner
Department of Molecular Biosciences and
he California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System 1089
Veterinary Medicine Drive, VM3B – 2225
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California, Davis CA95616, USA
Tel: 530-752-6285
Fax: 530-752-3361
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: March 20, 2013; Accepted date: April 19, 2013; Published date: April 22, 2013

Citation: Puschner B, Gallego S, Tor E, Wilson D (2013) The Diagnostic Approach and Public Health Implications of Phorate Poisoning In a California Dairy Herd. J Clinic Toxicol S13:001. doi: 10.4172/2161-0495.S13-001

Copyright: © 2013 Puschner B, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Within an hour of the planned feeding of a group of 300 Holstein cattle, a large number of cattle developed tremors, diarrhea, weakness, and paralysis. All cows exposed to the feed, a total of 159, died within 24 hours despite treatment attempts with atropine in approximately 100 animals. An additional 8 exposed animals were culled within a week. A thorough investigation demonstrated the accidental mixing of phorate into the total mixed ration instead of the intended mineral mix. Diagnostics confirming phorate exposure in deceased animals included brain cholinesterase determinations and the analysis of liver, rumen content, milk, and feed for phorate. Phorate is a restricted-use organophosphorus pesticide commonly used in US agriculture because of target pest efficacy, cost, and availability. Even with known human, animal, and ecological risks, organophosphorus pesticides remain the most widely used insecticides in the world today. This necessitates awareness about how to identify pesticide exposure in food animals and the corresponding public health risks for humans, including the potential for meat and milk residues and exposure in children. This report describes a dairy’s catastrophic loss of 167 cows caused by human error and assesses the public health implications therein. Veterinary diagnosticians, public health officials, and veterinarians must be prepared to collaborate in order to advise clients on case work-up, management, and preventive measures.

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