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Posts Tagged ‘Lobelia’

To recap, in the previous five columns we have listed many plants that contain toxins that could be injurious to your dog, cat or horse. Because of their size and propensity to chew almost anything kittens and puppies are at higher risk. Now I want to cover plants not previously classified.

The Umbrella Leaf also known as the Indian Apple Root, American Mandrake, Wild Lemon, Hog Apple, Duck’s Foot, Raccoon berry and American Mandrake accumulates the toxin podophylin. Ingestion can result in gastroenteritis, lethargy, respiratory distress and in rare instances coma. Contact with the skin can cause inflammation and skin ulcers. Iris (Snake Lily, Water Flag or Flag) contains three pentacyclic terpenoids known as zeorin, missourin and missouriensin. Highest concentrations of these toxins are in the rhizomes. Ingestion results in irritation of the oral mucous membranes and gastroenteritis. The Chinaberry Tree (Bead Tree, China Ball Tree, Paradise Tree, Persian Lilac, White Cedar, Japanese Bead Tree, Texas Umbrella Tree, Pride-of-India) accumulates tetranortriterpenes (meliatoxins) in the bark, leaves and flowers but the ripe berries are the most toxic. Ingestion can result in diarrhea, vomiting (not in horses), hyper-salivation, depression, weakness, and in rare cases seizures.

The American Mistletoe, Phoradendron flavescens, contains lectins and phoratoxins that can cause gastroenteritis, cardiovascular collapse, respiratory distress, and erratic behavior. It is hallucinogenic in humans, but do not be tempted, the GI and other effects predominate and are far from pleasant. Ingesting the young sprouts, seeds, bark or pruned twigs of the Locust tree causes significant gastroenteritis, anorexia (loss of appetite), depression, stupor, generalized weakness with rear end paralysis, cold extremities, dilated pupils, dyspnea (difficult breathing), a weak and irregular pulse, and bloody diarrhea. Horses that recover from eating this plant can develop chronic laminitis. The toxic principles of the Locust tree are toxalbumins.

The Peony contains the toxin paeonol and can cause gastroenteritis in horses, dogs and cats. The Gardenia (Cape Jasmine) contains genioposide and gardenoside, also resulting in gastro-intestinal upset. Baby’s Breath (Maidens Breath) contains gyposenin yet another cause of gastroenteritis. More gastroenteritis results from many cultivars of Geranium (containing geraniol, linalool). Garlic plants (Stinking Rose, Rustic Treacle, Camphor of the Poor, Nectar of the Gods, Serpent Garlic, Rocambole) contain N-propyl disulfide and toxic doses can cause gastroenteritis and a breakdown of red blood cells resulting in hemolytic anemia, Heinz body anemia, blood in the urine, generalized weakness, abnormally high heart rates and dyspnea.  The

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia, Indian Pink) contains lobeline and ingestion can result in depression gastroenteritis, abdominal pain and abnormal cardiac rhythms. Tulips contain Tulipalin A & B with highest concentrations in the bulbs. Ingestion causes gastroenteritis, depression, and hyper-salivation. The Sweet Pea (Perennial Pea, Everlasting Pea) accumulates aminoproprionitrite and ingestion can cause weakness, lethargy, pacing, head pressing, tremors, seizures and death. Ingestion of sufficient quantities of the Buckwheat plant, containing fagopyrin, can result in photosensitization and ulcerative and exudative dermatitis.

Several plants in which the toxic principle has not yet been identified, can cause mild to severe gastroenteritis. These include; Dahlias (many varieties), Chinese Jade (Silver Jade, Silver Dollar), Buddhist Pine (Yew Pine, Japanese Yew, Southern Yew, Podocarpus), Norfolk Pine (Australian Pine, House Pine, Island Pine), Horseweed (Showy Daisy, Fleabane, Seaside Daisy) and Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon, Rose of China).

Several varieties of Lily (Rubrum Lily, Asian Lily, many varieties of Day Lily and Easter Lily appear to be toxic only to cats. The toxic principle is unknown but ingestion can result in gastroenteritis, lethargy, kidney failure and death.

Gold Dust Dracaena (Florida Beauty), the Red-Marginated Dracaena (Straight-Marginated Dracaena) and the Striped Dracaena (Warneckii, Janet Craig Plant) all contain an unknown toxin that causes gastroenteritis, depression, incoordination and weakness in both dogs and cats but dilated pupils, abdominal pain, and tachycardia (increased heart rate) only in cats. The Madagascar Dragon Tree is also only toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion of this plant causes gastroenteritis, depression and in cats dilated pupils.

One last time, if you think your animal has ingested, or been in contact with, any of these hundreds of plants that contain toxic substances and is showing any of the described signs get the animal to your veterinarian. Only a few of the plants are toxic enough to be fatal but even the mild toxicants can cause unwarranted distress that should be relieved.

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The story continues. Just a reminder, the toxicity of any substance is dependent upon the dose, the greater exposure the greater the toxicity. If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these plants get him or her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Plants belonging to the family Amaryllidaceae, the Kaffir Lily (Clivia Lily, Clivies, Caffre Lily, Cape Clivia, Kilvia), Daffodils (Narcissus, Jonquil, Paper White) the Barbados Lily (Amaryllis, Fire Lily, Lily of the Palace, Ridderstjerne) and the Hyacinth (Garden Hyacinth) all contain lycorine and other alkaloids. Ingestion of these plants results in gastric distress with hyper salivation (drooling), vomiting and diarrhea. Ingestion of large quantities of the plant, particularly of the bulbs, can cause convulsions, low blood pressure (hypotension) tremors and cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats).

The Autumn Crocus (Meadow Saffron) contains colchicines and other alkaloids. Ingestion of this plant can result in irritation of the oral mucous membranes (everything in the mouth and throat) bloody vomiting, diarrhea, shock, multi-organ damage and bone marrow suppression. This one is nasty!

The Yarrow plant (Milfoil) contains glycoalkaloids, monoterpenes and sesquiterpene lactones, all alkaloids and all toxic. Ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea, depression, loss of appetite (anorexia) and drooling. The Morning Glory contains at least four different indole alkaloids. After eating this plant your pet can show signs of GI upset, agitation, tremors, disorientation, ataxia (trouble with balance while moving) anorexia. The seeds of Yarrow can cause hallucinations.

The Burning Bush (Wahoo, Spindle Tree) contains both alkaloids and cardenolides. Ingestion can result in GI distress, abdominal pain and weakness. Large doses can result in cardiac (heart) arrhythmias. Bittersweet (Limbing Bittersweet, Waxwork, Shrubby Bittersweet, False Bittersweet, Climbing Bittersweet and American Bittersweet) contains euonymin and sesquiterpene alkaloids. Ingestion of Bittersweet can result in weakness, convulsions and severe gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines).

Over eighty species of Larkspur can be found in North America, most west of the Mississippi River, but are cultivated as an ornamental almost everywhere. In nature the dwarf or low Larkspurs live on lowland slopes and grasslands and are generally less than three feet tall. Tall Larkspurs can grow to four to six feet and are usually found on upper slopes of mountain locations. These plants contain diterpene alkaloids and are more toxic to horses than other species. However horses will no usually consume these plants unless drought conditions exist and there is little else to eat. Dogs and cats have been poisoned from these plants but it is a rare occurrence. As the plant matures it is usually less toxic. Ingestion can result in neuromuscular paralysis along with gastroenteritis, muscle tremors, stiffness, weakness, and convulsions. Animals can die from either cardiac or respiratory arrest.

Ragwort (Golden Ragwort) contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids. It is not palatable but again can be a problem for animals that graze during drought conditions. Dogs and cats will usually not bother this plant, but there are some strange pets out there and poisonings have been reported. Ingestion causes liver failure, and many neurological problems associated with liver failure.

Periwinkle (Running Myrtle, Vinca) contain vinca alkaloids. Ingestion of this plant results in gastroenteritis and depression with moderate intake, tremors, seizures, coma and death if large quantities are consumed. The Lobelia (Cardinal Flower, Indian Pink) contains the alkaloid lobeline. Animals that ingest this plant can develop gastroenteritis, depression and abdominal pain. Large quantities can result in cardiac arrhythmias.

Ambrosia Mexicana (Jerusalem Oak, Feather Geranium) and Bittersweet (American Bittersweet, Waxwork, Shrubby Bittersweet, False Bittersweet, Climbing Bittersweet) may contain euonymin and sesquiterpene alkaloids. Animals ingesting these plants can show signs of gastroenteritis, depression, weakness and convulsions.

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