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  • Ruminants can vomit.
  • But it’s extremely rare.
  • Usually happens after they eat poisonous plants that contain neurotoxic Alkaloid
  • Death is almost certain.

According to non-peer reviewed literature, ‘Vomiting. Cattle rarely vomit. Occasionally certain feeds will induce vomiting. Some pasture plants, usually weeds, contain alkaloids that can cause this problem. Should this condition persist, a veterinarian should be consulted’. (1)

The peer-reviewed scientific literature offers more detail.
For example, larkspur toxicosis:

  • Clinical signs in cattle generally begin with uneasiness, muscular fasciculations, drooping ears, lowered head (muscular weakness) rapidly progressing to a stiff gait, straddled stance, and sudden collapse, usually forelimbs first, but with the animal trying to maintain standing until complete collapse results. If the dose is high enough the animal will progress to lateral recumbency with possible vomition. Death occurs rather quickly from aspiration, asphyxiation, or respiratory paralysis. Heart and respiration rates are elevated‘ (2).
  • Low larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum; Delphinium bicolor) is a poisonous plant.
  • It’s abundant in an alkaloid called methyllycaconitine, the toxin that induces these symptoms including vomit.

Veratrum is another poisonous plant with alkaloid neurotoxins that cause poisoning:

  • Typical signs begin with excess salivation with froth around the mouth, slobbering, and vomiting, progressing to ataxia, collapse, and death‘ (2).

Poisoning due to Zigadenus (aka death camas), another poisonous plant:

  • Excessive salivation is noted first, with foamy froth around the nose and muzzle, which persists, followed by nausea, and occasionally vomiting, in ruminants‘ (3, 4).
  • Death camas is one of the first plant species to emerge early in spring when other forage species are sparse.


  1. University of Minnesota Extension
  2. Molyneux, Russell J., and Kip E. Panter. “Alkaloids toxic to livestock.” The Alkaloids: Chemistry and Biology 67 (2009): 143-216.
  3. Panter, K. E., et al. “Death camas poisoning in sheep: a case report.” Veterinary and human toxicology 29.1 (1987): 45-48.
  4. Panter, K. E., and L. F. James. “Death camas–early grazing can be hazardous.” Rangelands Archives 11.4 (1989): 147-149. Page on arizona.edu