What is Bleeding Hearts Poisoning?
The Bleeding Hearts plant is very nice looking and therefore many people have them at their homes. This plant is considered a herbaceous perennial, meaning it will survive longer than most other plants. If your dog were to consume this plant, he could develop mild, moderate or severe signs of toxicity including staggering, vomiting, and seizures, signalling the need for medical attention immediately. If you like the look of this plant and have to have it, be sure to keep it in an area your dog does not have access to.
The Bleeding Hearts plant is a plant with very distinct flowers. This pretty plant is extremely toxic to your dog and to people. If your dog consumes any part of this plant, he needs to be taken to the veterinarian immediately.
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Symptoms of Bleeding Hearts Poisoning in Dogs
When the roots and foliage of this plant are consumed by your dog, he will develop signs of toxicity. Symptoms include:
- Respiratory issues
If you saw or believe your dog ate this plant, take him to the veterinarian immediately. Even if signs of toxicity are not showing, getting him to the clinic as soon as possible will decrease the chances of damages from the toxin occurring.
The genus name for the bleeding heart plant is Dicentra. This plant goes by many other common names such as dutchman’s breeches, squirrel corn, white eardrops, steer’s head, soldier’s cap, butterfly banner, and staggerweed. The flower shape is very distinct but they do vary in color.
Causes of Bleeding Hearts Poisoning in Dogs
The toxic component of this plant is what is called isoquinoline alkaloids. Alkaloids are plant toxins that damage the liver. If these toxins do not get flushed out of the body quickly enough, your dog can suffer permanent damage. Liver and kidney damage are irreversible, and therefore, will take the life of your pet.
Diagnosis of Bleeding Hearts Poisoning in Dogs
Your dog’s veterinarian will perform a physical exam to see what symptoms the dog is suffering from and what vitals are abnormal. Blood work may be performed to see how your dog’s internal organs are handling the toxin. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will give the veterinarian a good understanding of what is happening. A urinalysis may also be performed to give additional information about kidneys. Further tests may be ordered if additional evaluation is needed. When possible, bring a part of the plant with you when you go to the veterinary clinic. Even if you aren’t sure he ingested it but you do have it on your property where he has access, bring it. This will allow the veterinarian to able to identify what was ingested and enable him to know how to correct the toxicosis.
Treatment of Bleeding Hearts Poisoning in Dogs
Depending on what the doctor finds will determine the treatment. If your dog is having issues walking, trying to keep him lying down and calm is ideal. If he is suffering from seizures, the doctor will administer a medication to stop them; the same will be for symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. If your pet is suffering from respiratory issues, he will be put on monitoring equipment as well as oxygen to help him breathe easier. If it looks like the kidneys and/or liver aren’t doing too well, your pet will most likely be put on fluids to help flush out the toxin quicker.
Recovery of Bleeding Hearts Poisoning in Dogs
The toxicity of this plant is considered mild to moderate depending on how much your pet has consumed. The faster you seek medical attention for your pet, the better his chances of recovery. As soon as you realize that your pet has ingested or chewed on a part of this plant, take him to the clinic. If your dog is suffering respiratory issues, there is nothing at home you can do for him; you must take him to the veterinarian. Even if your dog is just showing slight symptoms, medical intervention is necessary due to the complications that can occur. The veterinary team may want to keep your pet overnight for monitoring, until the labs come back normal. This will ensure the toxin is out of your pet's system before he goes home, avoiding the chances of another episode.
The best way to help your pet in this situation is to prevent it in the first place. While this plant is an interesting one to have, it is not worth putting your dog’s life at risk. Educate yourself about the plants you have in and around your home to avoid any situations like this from happening.