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Glyphosate-surfactant herbicide poisoning in domestic animals: an epidemiological survey
  1. C. Cortinovis, DVM, PhD1,
  2. F. Davanzo, MD2,
  3. M. Rivolta2 and
  4. F. Caloni, Prof DVM, PhD1
  1. 1Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety (VESPA), Università degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 10, Milan 20133, Italy
  2. 2Centro Antiveleni di Milano, Ospedale Niguarda Cà Granda, Piazza Ospedale Maggiore 3, Milan 20162, Italy
  1. E-mail for correspondence: cristina.cortinovis{at}

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GLYPHOSATE (N-phosphonomethyl-glycine) is a non-selective systemic herbicide widely used by both professional and home gardeners (Bradberry and others 2004). Commercial glyphosate-based formulations generally consist of an aqueous mixture of glyphosate in the form of a salt, a surfactant and various minor components (Bradberry and others 2004). The toxic mechanisms of glyphosate formulations are unclear. Animal experiments suggest that the toxicity is due primarily to the surfactant, since it has an oral LD50 approximately four times lower than glyphosate (Bradberry and others 2004). Few data are available on glyphosate intoxication and prognosis in the veterinary literature. According to the Centre National d’Informations Toxicologiques Vétérinaires (CNITV) (Burgat and others 1998, Berny and others 2010), the Italian Veterinary Toxicologic Assistance Service (SATV) (Giuliano Albo and Nebbia 2004) and the human Poison Control Centre of Milan (Centro Antiveleni di Milano, CAV) (Caloni and others 2012), glyphosate is the herbicide most commonly involved in animal poisonings. Since its launch, the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) in London has received 1323 enquiries about dogs (n=992) and cats (n=331) exposed to glyphosate-based products (Bates and Edwards 2013).

In the present study, a retrospective analysis of all enquiries related to animal exposures to glyphosate-containing herbicides collected by the CAV from January 2006 to December 2012 was performed. For each enquiry, details of the exposure and the clinical history are recorded in the CAV database. Follow-up calls are …

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  • Provenance: not commissioned; externally peer reviewed

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