Oleander is so toxic that deaths of large livestock have occurred from ingesting as little as few leaves. There is no specific treatment available for counteracting the effects of the cardiac glycosides present in oleander. Intravenous therapy will be indicated because this method of medical aid can allow the veterinarian to give your dog drugs like antiemetics, gastroprotectants and medications to help improve the condition of the heart. As is the case with some other poisonous plants, oleander is on occasion unknowingly cut down with a field and subsequently dried and bailed with hay or chopped into silage for cattle feed. Causes of Oleander Poisoning in Dogs The main identified toxin is the cardiac glycoside oleandrin, which is similar to digitoxin used in the treatment of heart failure Researchers believe there are 30 types of cardiac glycosides in the oleander Oleandrin is present in all parts of the plant whether fresh or dried Cardiovascular, neurologic, and gastrointestinal systems are affected The stomach can become inflamed The electrical conduction of the heart is disturbed The pulse is affected Hyperkalemia higher than normal potassium in the blood can occur which affects the heart muscle, nerve cells, and muscle cells Diagnosis of Oleander Poisoning in Dogs If you suspect your pet has ingested some of your oleander tree or you witnessed him doing so, you must treat it as an emergency situation and call your veterinarian to let him know you are on the way. The veterinary team will advise you on any dietary recommendations there may be for the next few days or weeks.
For animals that may have ingested a small to moderate amount, or in cases where the ingestion was detected early and treatment administered, the prognosis can range from good to guarded. Activated charcoal is then given, which can help bind remaining oleander and move it through the dog's system with less absorption. Oleander is noted to have erect stems or branches that splay outward as they mature. Abnormal heart rhythm atrial or ventricular fibrillation Diagnosis of Canine Oleander Poisoning There are blood tests that can confirm the presence of oleander's toxins in a dog's bloodstream, but it takes too long to get the results when a dog has been poisoned. Electrolyte levels and heart rate are monitored. The toxins are not destroyed by drying or heating, as a result both fresh and dry plant material as well as the smoke from burning plant material should be avoided. They often, but not always have a sweet scent. The signs of intoxication will vary depending upon what species is involved and how much plant material was ingested. While this may not aid the actual victim at hand, it can provide owners with the knowledge that oleander is or was present as a food source and allow them the opportunity to safeguard any other livestock they may have. Treatment is routinely not successfully. Prevention of Oleander Poisoning in Dogs It's important to be aware of plants that are toxic to dogs and keep them out of your yard. As is the case with some other poisonous plants, oleander is on occasion unknowingly cut down with a field and subsequently dried and bailed with hay or chopped into silage for cattle feed. If you are able to provide the time of the event, the approximate amount of ingestion, and the identification of the parts of the plant that were eaten, this will be of great help to the veterinary team. If possible, bring along a part of the plant. In most cases death occurs in less than 24 hours. Symptomatic treatments are often attempted but are usually unsuccessful. There are many different colors of this member of Apocynaceae family, depending on the variety. If you plan to add new greenery to your garden space, research the plant well before making the purchase. Learn more about other dangers for dogs outside here: Keep your pet on a leash in areas near your home where the oleander may grow. For dogs and cats, vomiting should be induced as soon as possible. Although very helpful in determining whether or not a poisoning is the result of oleander when the actual leaves cannot be found, this test is most often performed post mortem. There is no specific treatment available for counteracting the effects of the cardiac glycosides present in oleander. If your pet is not vomiting already, the veterinarian will induce emesis. A dog's blood potassium levels are usually high during oleander poisoning, which can help confirm a veterinarian's suspicions.
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