Chronic copper toxicosis in sheep following the use of copper sulfate as a fungicide on fruit trees

ORUÇ H. H., CENGİZ M., Beskaya A.

JOURNAL OF VETERINARY DIAGNOSTIC INVESTIGATION, vol.21, no.4, pp.540-543, 2009 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Between January and October 2006, 15 Chios sheep died in a field located near a factory in Orhangazi, Bursa, Turkey. In addition, in May 2007, 2 ewes died after aborting in the same field. Clinical signs in affected animals prior to death were anorexia, hematuria, icterus, incoordination, and ptyalism. Postmortem findings included generalized icterus; yellow, friable livers; distended gallbladders with dense, dark bile; and dark, hypertrophic kidneys with hemorrhage. Copper (Cu) concentrations were measured in multiple specimens of the following: 9 sera, 3 livers, 3 kidneys, 4 plants (including 2 artichoke leaf specimens), 3 soil samples, and 1 drinking water sample. High Cu concentrations were present in the livers, kidneys, and sera of dead sheep, as well as in the vegetation and soil samples from the field. Chronic Cu toxicosis was confirmed as the cause of death attributed primarily to the use of copper sulfate as a fungicide for fruit trees within the field. In addition, factory dust containing Cu might have been an additional factor in the toxicosis.