Details

Common Name
Purslane, pusley
Botanic Name
Portulaca
Plant Family
Portulacaceae
Habitat
A very common weed of cultivated ground and waste places, and gardens.
Animals Affected
Cattle, sheep, horses
Purslane
Toxic Principle
Oxalates. Few cases of poisoning in livestock have been reported. Plants may contain up to 9.3% oxalates and are known to cause acute oxalate poisoning.
Description
An annual, succulent plant with prostate stems, somewhat pink in color. Leaves are fleshy and flat, obovate in shape and are either alternate or clustered on the stem. Flowers are yellow, solitary, open for only a short time. Fruit is a capsule opening by a circular line.
Musculoskeletal
Muscle tremors, tetany, weakness, reluctance to move, depression, and recumbency resulting from hypocalcemia and hypomagnesemia. Coma and death may result within 12 hours. Animals that survive the acute effects of oxalate poisoning frequently develop kidney failure.
Treatment
Calcium gluconate, magnesium sulfate, glucose, and a balanced electrolyte solution can be given intravenously to maintain kidney perfusion, and treat the effects of the low blood calcium. Giving limewater [Ca(OH)2] orally will help to prevent absorption of further soluble oxalate from the rumen. The prognosis is usually very poor because of the severe kidney damage that results.
Renal System
Animals that survive the acute effects of oxalate poisoning frequently develop kidney failure. Insoluble calcium oxalate filtered by the kidneys causes severe damage to the kidney tubules. Animals die from renal failure.
Diagnosis
Hypocalcemia, oxalate crystals in the urine, and evidence of oxalate nephropathy histologically.