Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions
BRIEF: How long does it take for a goat to recover from mistletoe poisoning?
I have a Nigerian Dwarf Goat who ate some mistletoe 11/23/99. Her symptoms included severe abdominal pain and constipation, she had tremors but no outright seizures, weakness and lack of coordination. She was (and still is) unable to stand, appeared to have some difficulty with seeing for several days. We treated her with mineral oil enemas and tube feedings for the first 2 days until her bowel function returned and the pain subsided. She received Banamine for the first three days until the pain subsided (3-4 days) and dexamethasone for the first three days as she was showing nuerologic symptoms. The steriods seamed to temporarily improve the tremors and confusion such that she was able to eat and drink for 10 to 12 hours after each dose. Everything we can find in my medical literature, internet information, and from poison control says how to treat the acute poisoning and that death will usually occur within the first 24 hours if a lethal dose was ingested. "Libby" was found in the field unable to move and unresponsive until steroids were given. The time of ingestion is uncertain. The field contains only grass, oak trees, and manzanita trees which all the goats eat freely. One oak tree has mistletoe (which will shortly be removed). Our problem is that Libby has survived 15 days. She is still unable to stand and has no coordination. She eats and drinks well and goes to the bathroom without difficulty and is no longer in pain. She appears alert and responsive. We can find no information on how long it takes for an animal to reciver from mistletoe poisoning and is there any permanent damage? Could you tell me what to expect...full recovery, when?, permanent nuerologic damage, no improvement, etc.?
Most of the GI symptoms are probably due to the lectin, the gut protein binding toxin. I was not aware that the neurologic symptoms from the neurotoxins could last so long. Does the animal have a hip injury or some physical complication?