What is Baby's Breath Poisoning?
Baby’s Breath is the name most commonly used to refer to plants of the Gypsophila species. These flowering plants are members of the carnation family, Caryophyllaceae. They are native to Europe and Asia and they have been introduced in North America where they are found throughout Canada and the northern United States. Baby’s Breath is used commonly in floral arrangements and it has also been cultivated in gardens as a bedding plant. Its large taproot and plentiful seed production can make also make the plant something of a nuisance in the garden as it spreads easily and may choke out other plants. Baby’s Breath has been found to be mildly toxic to dogs. This is believed primarily to be due to gyposenin, a gastrointestinal toxin found in the flowers and leaves.
Saponins, soap-like chemicals used in detergents and some medicines, are also found in the roots of Gypsophila and many other members of the Caryophyllaceae family. Ingestion of high number of saponins can cause toxicity in animals, but dogs rarely ingest roots, and saponins likely only contribute to Baby’s Breath toxicity as a trace element. Gastroenteritis is the most common symptom of Baby’s Breath poisoning with gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea. Most cases are mild, however, severe symptoms would require veterinary treatment.
Baby’s Breath is a lacy white flower found in many ornamental bouquets. It contains gastrointestinal toxins that can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs when ingested. The symptoms of Baby’s Breath poisoning are usually mild.
Book First Walk Free!
Symptoms of Baby's Breath Poisoning in Dogs
These are some of the symptoms you may see if your dog ingests Baby’s Breath.
- Weight loss
Several species of Baby’s Breath are found commonly in gardens and bouquets.
- Gypsophila paniculata – the most well-known ornamental species
- Gypsophila elegans – also used as a cut flower
Causes of Baby's Breath Poisoning in Dogs
Several factors can make Baby’s breath poisoning more likely.
- Dog eating a part of an ornamental bouquet
- Baby’s Breath growing in the garden
- Introduced species that have become wild
- Dogs that like to eat plants
Diagnosis of Baby's Breath Poisoning in Dogs
If you saw the incident or found a bouquet of flowers chewed and partially eaten by your dog, this will make diagnosis easier. Otherwise, the veterinarian will need to eliminate infection and other more serious causes of toxicity. Blood and urine tests will be necessary to check for these conditions. For chronic vomiting, the veterinarian could recommend abdominal X-rays to evaluate whether a tumor or a foreign body could be causing your dog’s symptoms. If frequent vomiting is a problem, you may want to consider whether there is a chance your dog could be regularly eating Baby’s Breath in your garden or somewhere else. Finding the source of the problem will help to reduce the need for expensive or invasive tests.
Treatment of Baby's Breath Poisoning in Dogs
Baby’s Breath typically has a mild to moderate toxicity. Minor gastrointestinal upset that passes quickly may not need veterinarian attention, however, severe or chronic vomiting and diarrhea should always be treated. If you know your dog has eaten Baby’s Breath, it’s a good idea to call your veterinarian and ask for advice. The veterinarian will want to know how much you think your dog ingested and whether he is showing symptoms. Large amounts could require an office visit, especially if you have a small dog.
The veterinarian may induce vomiting to help limit gyposenin absorption and give your dog a cathartic medication so that excretion will happen faster. Other treatments will be focused on reducing the severity of symptoms. Antiemetic medication may be given for frequent vomiting; intravenous fluids and electrolytes could be necessary if your dog has become dehydrated.
Recovery of Baby's Breath Poisoning in Dogs
Most dogs will recover from Baby’s Breath poisoning, however, training your dog to stay away from this plant will be the best and safest way of managing the condition. Removing the source of the problem can help to make this more effective. If Baby’s Breath in your garden is causing a frequent problem for your dog, then it’s a good idea to get rid of it all together. Some species of Baby’s Breath can be quite persistent, so you may need to call a garden specialist for advice about an effective elimination method that will be safe for your dog. A toxic weed killer could be just as harmful, especially if your dogs is already used to eating that particular plant. If the problem is coming from cut bouquets in your house, make an effort to keep flowers in a high place where your dog cannot go and avoid arrangements that include Baby’s Breath.