Poisonous Plants in Gardens and Parks – A Danger to Dogs and Cats

Oleander: The stomach symptoms, like salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, are in the foreground. Other symptoms include arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, dilated pupils, cramps and hypothermia and coughing with respiratory distress.

Yew: The whole plant is highly toxic. The most common poisoning is caused by careless handling of garden waste. Hyper-acute to acute poisoning occurs. The following symptoms are observed in dogs and cats: fever, disorientation, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of light reaction of the pupil, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath, abdominal hemorrhage, coma and death. No specific antidote is available for therapy.

Boxwood: Similarly to yew branches, the branches of boxwood are very often used in floristry for Easter and Christmas arrangements. The alkaloid cyclobuxin present in boxwood causes excitement first and then paralysis of the central nervous system. As with yew, the toxicity of the plant is not reduced after drying. The lethal dose for dogs/cat is 5 g of leaves/kg of the body mass. The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, agitation and paralysis. Death occurs as a result of respiratory paralysis. The intake of fresh plant material is rare because of the very bitter taste.

Laburnum: 2-7 g seed/kg of the body mass may be toxic. Your animals are endangered for the seeds and roots have a sweet taste. The cases described in literature were caused by chewing laburnum branches (stick throwing). The poisoning starts after a very short time. The animals react with violent vomiting, diarrhea and collapse after a few minutes only. Forms of epilepsy seizures can be added in the final stage. No specific antidote is known.

Wonder tree: This herb, derived from castor oil, is dangerous for pets in several ways: on one hand, this is a popular ornamental plant in gardens and parks and on the other hand, one finds the attractive brown marbled seeds in jewelry chains. Furthermore, oil cake is used as fertilizer.

The poison “ricin” is only found in the seeds. It develops severe stomach – intestines – inflammation and causes damage to the liver and kidneys as well as decomposition of red blood cells. The lethal dose for dogs/cats is estimated at 1 to 2 g/kg of the body mass. The initial vomiting and bloody diarrhea, fever, convulsions, uncoordinated movements, circulatory collapse, signs of kidney infection, urinary retention and signs of resolution are accompanied by damage of the red blood cells after a latency period of a few hours to 3 days. Death usually occurs after 48 to 72 hours. The use of an antiserum is ideal for therapy. Castor oil is available in pharmacies as it is nontoxic.

Mistletoe: Vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, fever, cardiac arrhythmia, convulsions, uncoordinated movements, paralysis, changes in sensitivity, coma and cardiac arrest can develop in a few hours. Deaths are rare.

Rhododendron and azalea: They lead to paralysis of the skeletal muscles. The first symptoms that appear are drooling, rubbing the head against objects, nasal and eye discharge, vomiting and diarrhea. These are followed by a slowing of the heartbeat, a drop in blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, muscular paralysis and respiratory disorders. Death occurs due to respiratory paralysis. Literature has reported a poisoning case in dogs, caused by rhododendron containing bark mulch.

Giant hogweed: It contains so-called fuccomarine substances. Those are phototoxic substances that absorb UV light and trigger energy chemical reactions that damage the genetic material and the cell. Giant hogweed on the skin or mucous membrane and then exposed to sunlight leads to severe sunburn with bubble formation and subsequent hair loss. The little hairy and non-pigmented body parts (head and abdomen) are particularly vulnerable. The healing process is lengthy and often leaves behind scars and pigment changes.

Hydrangea: The plant contains saponins, also known as cyanide-releasing substances (for example hydranin). The symptoms manifested in animals would be painful stomach or intestines inflammation with diarrhea, which may also be bloody. Furthermore, the animals present fear and hesitation. No deaths in dogs/cats have been registered so far.

The plants listed are only a small selection of plants that are poisonous to your animals. They are the most common plants found in the garden and park. Homeopathic treatments for poisoning can help the animals and save them. Poisoning leads to great weakness, bloody vomiting and bloody stool, which also has an unsuitable thickness. It is also accompanied by severe hypothermia and collapse. A different homeopathic remedy is used for each animal, even if the cause of poisoning is the same. There is no antidote for the poison, so this problem is treated symptomatically.

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