The aim of the present study was to determine and compare the clinical, hematological, biochemical and histopathological changes induced by cyanide, thiocyanate and chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) in goats. Sixteen Boer-Spanish cross-bred female goats were divided into four treatment groups: (1) control, (2) potassium cyanide (KCN) at 3.8 mg kg−1 day−1, (3) potassium thiocyanate (KSCN) at 4.5 mg kg−1 day−1 and (4) ground frozen chokecherry leaves and flowers at a target dose of 2.5 mg HCN kg−1 day−1, all for 4 weeks. Clinical signs were observed in two goats treated with chokecherry. Only sporadic changes were found in the hematological and blood chemical panel. Goats treated with chokecherry and thiocyanate had an increased number of vacuoles in the colloid of thyroid glands. Spongiosis and spheroids were found in the mesencephalon from goats treated with KCN and chokecherry. These findings suggest the thyroid lesions can be attributed to thiocyanate, whereas the effects on the nervous system were most likely caused by cyanide. Published in 2007 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.