Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Veterinary Research and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Equine poisoning by coffee husk (Coffea arabica L.)

Diego Jose Z Delfiol1, Jose P Oliveira-Filho2, Fernanda L Casalecchi3, Thatiane Kievitsbosch4, Carlos A Hussni5, Franklin Riet-Correa6, João P Araujo-Jr7 and Alexandre S Borges8*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science - Univ Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Botucatu, São Paulo, 18618970, Brazil

2 Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science - Univ Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Botucatu, São Paulo, 18618970, Brazil

3 Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária - Fundação Pinhalense de Ensino, Espírito Santo do Pinhal, São Paulo, 13990000, Brazil

4 Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science - Univ Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Botucatu, São Paulo, 18618970, Brazil

5 Department of Veterinary Surgery and Anesthesiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science - Univ Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Botucatu, São Paulo, 18618970, Brazil

6 Hospital Veterinário - Campus de Patos da Universidade Federal de Campina Grande, Patos, Paraíba. 58700000, Brasil

7 Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Biosciences Institute of Botucatu - Univ Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Botucatu, São Paulo, 18618000, Brazil

8 Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science - Univ Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Botucatu, São Paulo, 18618970, Brazil

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:4  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-4

Published: 12 January 2012

Abstract

Background

In Brazil, coffee (Coffea arabica) husks are reused in several ways due to their abundance, including as stall bedding. However, field veterinarians have reported that horses become intoxicated after ingesting the coffee husks that are used as bedding. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether coffee husk consumption causes intoxication in horses.

Results

Six horses fed coast cross hay ad libitum were given access to coffee husks and excitability, restlessness, involuntary muscle tremors, chewing movements and constant tremors of the lips and tongue, excessive sweating and increased respiration and heart rates were the most evident clinical signs. Caffeine levels were measured in the plasma and urine of these horses on two occasions: immediately before the coffee husks were made available to the animals (T0) and at the time of the clinical presentation of intoxication, 56 h after the animals started to consume the husks (T56). The concentrations of caffeine in the plasma (p < 0.001) and urine (p < 0.001) of these animals were significantly greater at T56 than at T0.

Conclusions

It was concluded that consumption of coffee husks was toxic to horses due to the high levels of caffeine present in their composition. Therefore, coffee husks pose a risk when used as bedding or as feed for horses.