What is Black Locust Poisoning?
The black locust plant is naturally occurring particularly in the eastern United States. It can be found along roadsides, in the open woods, in pinelands, and in your own backyard. They thrive best in clay soils but are found in different types as well. Every single part of this plant is toxic to your pet if consumed, so if you think or know your pet ate or chewed on this plant, you should contact your veterinarian. Symptoms as severe as liver damage, convulsions, and respiratory trouble can develop. Timely medical care is essential when dealing with toxicity caused by the black locust plant.
Black locust is a tree type plant that is poisonous to your dog if he consumes any part of it. If you believe that your dog has chewed on or eaten any of this plant, you need to seek veterinary attention immediately.
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Symptoms of Black Locust Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog ingests a part of the black locust plant, signs of toxicity may develop. Symptoms include
- Respiratory distress
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Cardiovascular issues
If your dog develops any of these symptoms of toxicity, you need to get them to their veterinarian immediately.
This tree has a distinct look to it; it is very aesthetically pleasing to the human eye. It provides a decent amount of shade and the flowers tend to drape from the tree. The scientific name for this plant is Robinia pseudoacacia, but it goes by other common names such as false acacia and locust tree.
Causes of Black Locust Poisoning in Dogs
Since this plant is common in many areas, many people do not realize how hazardous it is to their pet. The plant contains toxins called toxalbumins. They are proteins within the plant that disable ribosomes leading to inhibition of protein synthesis. This results in cell damage and death of organ systems within the body. The bark, leaves, flowers, and seeds are all toxic to your pet with the seeds being the most toxic.
Diagnosis of Black Locust Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog is showing any of the symptoms listed above, or if you know he ate a part of the plant but isn’t showing symptoms yet, it is imperative to visit the veterinarian immediately. The veterinarian will start with a physical examination to check your pet’s vitals. Laboratory work will be performed to see how your dog’s internal organs are metabolizing the toxin. Blood work will include a complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel. In addition to this, a urinalysis will also be run as another test to check the kidneys. If your dog is suffering cardiovascular issues, he will be set up to monitoring equipment, and it is possible an ECG will be performed to check how well each chamber of the heart is pumping. If you saw your pet chewing on or eating this plant and he has now developed symptoms of toxicity, bring a part of the plant with you to the veterinarian’s office.
Treatment of Black Locust Poisoning in Dogs
The symptoms your dog is suffering will determine the treatment plan of action. You dog will most likely be put on fluids, especially since the liver and kidney are so sensitive to this toxin. It will help flush the toxin out quicker than without fluids. Also, depending on your dog’s breathing, he may be put in an oxygen chamber or on oxygen to help him breathe easier. Any other symptoms, such as vomiting and convulsions, may be treated with additional medications. Your pet should stay in the hospital until his symptoms have subsided and all the laboratory work comes back normal.
Recovery of Black Locust Poisoning in Dogs
Your reaction time will determine the prognosis for recovery if your pet is poisoned by this plant. It will also depend on if your dog just chewed on it or actually consumed it, and how much. Since the kidneys and liver are particularly susceptible, the quicker you get your dog to the veterinarian and on fluids the more the chance of survival will increase. If you wait too long, your dog could possibly go into irreversible renal failure which can eventually take his life. Also, since the toxin in the plant causes respiratory and cardiac issues, the dog needs help from a professional; you will not be able to give your dog the relief he needs that are associated with these issues. If you seek proper medical attention in a short amount of time, the chances for your pet are good.
The best way to treat this toxicity is to prevent it. Do not let your dog chew on plants when out for a walk. Make sure you know each and every plant you have on your property that the dog may come into contact with to ensure they are not hazardous to your canine companion’s health. The more you know, the safer your pet will be.