'MELKBOS' Euphorbia mauritanica
By By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Friday, 1st April 2016

‘MELKBOS’ Euphorbia mauritanica

This is not an important poisong in Angora goats and seldom causes losses. It can occur when Angoras are effected during times of drought and nutritional stress.

 Usually to be found on dry, stony hills.


 A succulent shrub up to 1 m high with many round, smooth, green branches containing white milky latex. Older branches with scattered leaf scars. Leaves entire, up to 1,3 cm long and only occur on young growing stems.

Yellow flower heads occur in groups at the tips of the branches.

A 3-chambered capsule with a seed in each chamber forms the fruit.

 Clinical signs:

Clinical signs may appear about 4-12 hours after ingestion and last 3-5 days

  • Muscle tremors, stiffness and spasms
  • Back arched and legs splayed
  • Foaming at mouth, salivation and bloat may occur
  • Elevated temperature
  • Diarrhoea

Similar signs to ‘Melktou’ poisoning but ‘Melktou’ induces tetanic spasms and ‘melkbos’ although legs extended can be flexed easily and diarrhoea occurs in ‘Melkbos’ poisoning.

Post Mortem:

Unspecific signs

  • Oedema, emphysema of the lungs
  • Hypereamia of gastro-intestinal tract


Botha, C.J. (Christoffel Jacobus); Venter, Elna; University of Pretoria. Faculty of Veterinary Science. Dept. of Paraclinical Sciences. Section Pharmacology and Toxicology

Plant Poisonings and Mycotoxicosis of livestock in Southern Africa: Kellerman, Coetzer,  Naude


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