, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 93-104
Date: 15 Dec 2006

Effects of Long-term Cyanide Ingestion by Pigs

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Animal performance and health status are adversely affected by long-term cyanide ingestion; however, the effects of cyanide ingestion by pigs have not been fully determined. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of prolonged exposure to different doses of potassium cyanide (KCN) in growing-finishing swine. Twenty-four pigs, 45 days of age, were divided into four equal groups and treated with different doses of KCN: 0, 2.0, 4.0 or 6.0 mg per kg body weight per day for 70 consecutive days. The results showed a significant alteration in thiocyanate, creatinine and urea levels and in alanine aminotransferase activity of swine dosed with 4.0 and 6.0 mg/kg/KCN. Thyroid weight was significantly increased in those pigs from 4.0 mg/kg KCN group, but no change in cholesterol, triiodothyronine or thyroline levels were observed. Body and carcase weights, body weight gain, and bacon thickness were not affected by KCN treatment. The histopathological study revealed increased numbers of vacuoles in the colloid of thyroid follicles, degeneration of cerebellar white matter and Purkinje cells, degeneration of renal tubular epithelial cells, caryolysis and pyknosis in hepatocytes, and disturbance of the normal lobular architecture of the liver in all treated pigs. Thus, long-term administration of KCN to swine affects several tissues and could adversely affect animal production.