Suspected nitrite poisoning in pigs caused by Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik. (‘herderstassie, shepherd’s purse)
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Nitrite poisoning in pigs was suspected when 4 of 18 pigs died in a piggery near Ellisras in the Northern Province. The pigs showed typical brownish discolouration of the blood at autopsy. It was established that they ingested vegetable tops and weeds from the adjacent garden as part of their daily ration. Of the available plants, only Capsella bursa-pastoris contained nitrites. The drinking water and some of the other plants tested positive for nitrates but not for nitrites. This is the first report of suspected nitrite poisoning in pigs caused by Capsella bursa-pastoris.