Cottonseed meal (gossypol) toxicosis in a swine herd.

W. M. Haschek, Val Richard Beasley, W. B. Buck, J. H. Finnell

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Cottonseed meal (CSM) that contained a high concentration of free gossypol was inadvertently used as a protein supplement, without appropriate iron supplementation, for a swine herd in Illinois. Fifty percent of 300 grower and finishing swine died, and an additional 20% became ill during a 4- to 6-week period. Clinical signs included respiratory distress and abdominal distention. At necropsy, the hearts were diffusely pale, flaccid, and rounded because of dilatation of all 4 chambers, the livers were large and congested, and hydropericardium, hydrothorax, and ascites were evident. Histologic changes consisted of diffuse myocardial fiber atropy with perinuclear vacuolation, and multifocal myocardial and skeletal muscle necrosis. Changes in the liver included marked centrilobular congestion, loss of hepatocytes, and fatty degeneration. Differential diagnoses included monensin, selenium, and gossypol toxicoses, and vitamin E/selenium deficiency. Analyzed feed samples did not contain monensin. Feed selenium concentrations ranged from 428 to 1,513 micrograms/kg, and iron concentrations from 160 to 180 mg/kg. Cottonseed meal (3 to 10%) was detected by feed microscopy. A sample of the 40% protein supplement contained 19% CSM and 1,300 mg of free gossypol/kg, whereas feed samples contained 200 to 400 mg of free gossypol/kg. The history, clinical signs, pathologic findings, and feed analyses were compatible with a diagnosis of gossypol toxicosis. Cottonseed meal, a high-protein supplement used widely in southern United States, may contain gossypol (a polyphenolic binaphthalene pigment), which in its free form is especially toxic to simple-stomached animals. If CSM is used, supplementation with ferrous sulfate is recommended at a 1:1 weight ratio with free gossypol, up to 400 mg of FeSO4/kg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-615
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Veterinary


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