THE CHRONIC TOXICITY OF INORGANIC MERCURY IN GOATS: CLINICAL SIGNS, TOXICOPATHOLOGICAL CHANGES AND RESIDUAL CONCENTRATIONS


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Abstract

Chronic mercury toxicity was induced in goats by administering mercuric chloride at 100 μg/ml in deionized drinking water offered ad libitum for 90 days. Toxic signs of gastrointestinal disturbances and renal dysfunction developed from 43 days onwards without any mortality. The toxicity also induced nephrosis and tubular nephritis; centrilobular necrosis of liver; mild to moderate necrosis in spleen, intestine and lymph node; Zenker's degeneration of cardiac muscles; exudative pneumonia; and pial congestion, oedema and vacuolation in the brain. In addition, hyperaemia, oedema and tissue haemorrhages were evident in most of the organs. The kidneys contained the largest residues of mercury, followed by liver, spleen, intestine, lymph node, skeletal muscles, lungs, heart, brain and the omental fat. The intensity of the cytotoxic changes in the various organs was proportional to the amount of mercury accumulated.

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