|MadSci Network: Other|
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Avocado is apparently dangerous to all animals. The fruit, leaves, stem, and pit are all toxic. Persin is a trivial name taken from the genus or species name of the avocado. This toxin, a fatty acid-like compound, in an oil, is leached from the pit into the fruit. In birds, it produces lethargy, anorexia, breathing difficulties and sudden death. In rabbits, goats, cattle and horses there can be inflammation of mammary glands and fluid accumulation around the heart. The toxic dose is unknown. The chemistry of the compound is unknown.
Many plant foods that humans eat, such as chocolate, onions, macadamia nuts (dogs), grapes/raisins, etc. are harmful to animals. It probably has to do with enzyme activities in humans, that is not activated nor present in animals. Much research needs to be done on comparative toxicology between animals and humans. For example, grapes and raisins have become recognized as containing an unknown toxin linked to kidney failure in dogs and cats. This has really been discovered in 2001. However, at least 9 ounces must be consumed for the intoxication to occur.
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