What is Bird of Paradise Poisoning?
The bird of paradise plant is a gorgeous plant many people enjoy having in their gardens. It is a tall plant, four to five feet high, with a very distinct flower. They produce a leguminous pod type fruit which is the most toxic part of the plant; however the other parts of the plant are also toxic. If you see your dog chewing on or eating any part of this plant, you need to take them to the veterinarian immediately.
The bird of paradise plant is a tropical flowering plant that resembles a bird in flight once bloomed. This plant is toxic to your dog so if you believe your dog ingested a part of it, contact your veterinarian immediately.
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Symptoms of Bird of Paradise Poisoning in Dogs
If your pet ingests a part of this plant, symptoms of toxicity may appear within as little as 20 minutes. Symptoms of toxicity include:
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle tremors
If your dog is showing any of these signs, you need to contact your veterinarian.
The bird of paradise plant genus is Caesalpinia but it is also known by other common names such as Barbados pride, peacock flower, dwarf poinciana, crane flower and bird’s tongue. These plants do very well in tropical/warmer clients and as because of this they are frequently used as decoration indoors.
Causes of Bird of Paradise Poisoning in Dogs
It is believed the bird of paradise plant’s toxic component is hydrocyanic acid. Hydrocyanic acid is a naturally occurring toxin in several plants that leads to cell necrosis. When consumed in large amounts, it can be lethal.
Diagnosis of Bird of Paradise Poisoning in Dogs
When you arrive at your veterinarian’s office, the team will begin with a physical exam to get a baseline of how your pet is doing. Vitals will be taken to see what abnormalities your pet is suffering and to see what treatments should begin. It is likely the veterinarian will want to run blood work to see how your dog’s internal organs are doing. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will give the doctor a good view of how the body is dealing with the toxin. Additional lab work may be conducted if more detailed results are needed. If the heart is not working properly, they will likely hook your dog up to monitoring equipment and may decide to run an ECG. When possible, try to bring a part of the plant with you to the veterinary clinic. If you know, or even if you think your dog ingested this plant, bringing it with you will allow quick and error free diagnosis.
Treatment of Bird of Paradise Poisoning in Dogs
Since this plant’s toxins are absorbed so quickly, supportive therapy is almost always immediately started when your pet arrives at the clinic. The symptoms your dog is suffering from will determine the course of treatment. If your dog cannot stop vomiting, an antiemetic will be given to stop this. If your dog is having diarrhea and vomiting, it is likely they may become dehydrated and therefore will start receiving fluids. Depending on how your dog’s heart is functioning, a supportive cardiac medication may be administered as well.
Recovery of Bird of Paradise Poisoning in Dogs
Depending on how much your dog ingested and depending on how quickly your dog received medical treatment will determine the recovery outcome. Even if you didn’t witness your dog ingesting this plant but they have developed signs of toxicity, the sooner you get them to the veterinarian the better. While some of the symptoms might not seem lethal, whenever the heart is involved, you can never be too careful. Too much stress on the heart is not good for your pet. Your veterinarian may want to keep your pet overnight or for a few days to ensure all of the toxin has left the animal’s system. With proper medical attention, your pet has a good chance of recovery.
The best way to deal with this toxicity is to not let it happen in the first place. This means do not have this plant near your animals or in any area they can get to. If you must have this plant, be sure to keep it out of the reach of your dog. Keep the plant at a height your dog standing on their hind legs can’t reach, including any leaves of flowers that may fall off the plant. If your dog is tall or has a talent for jumping on counters/tables they shouldn’t, it is not recommended to have this plant in or around your home.
Bird of Paradise Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog was chewing on the stems of the bird of paradise flowers and I searched to see if it was poisonous. He is acting Normal but has slight diarrhea. Should I take him to the vet?
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