What is Bloodroot Poisoning?
The bloodroot plant is an herbaceous plant with white flowers and when cut, the stems exude a red-orange sap. This plant has been used in history by Native Americans for treatment of ringworm, a sore throat, and as insect repellent. While this plant does have some good medicinal qualities, you have to use it with caution around animals. The entire bloodroot plant is toxic when ingested by your dog, especially the stem and roots. If you believe your dog ate this plant, contact your veterinarian.
Bloodroot is a type of plant that is used as an herb or is a natural wildflower in certain regions. When ingested by your dog, it is extremely toxic. If you see your pet eating or chewing on this plant, you need to contact your veterinarian immediately.
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Symptoms of Bloodroot Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog ingests part of this plant, they may quickly develop signs of toxicity. Symptoms include:
- Organ failure
- Eye irritation
Depending on how much of the plant your dog ingested will determine the severity of the symptoms. If you suspect or know your dog chewed on or ate a part of this plant, contact your veterinarian immediately, even if they aren’t showing symptoms of toxicity yet.
The bloodroot plant’s scientific name is Sanguinaria canadensis but also goes by the common name of red puccoon. This is a stout plant with large leaves with three to nine lobes each. The yellow and white flower is 1 to 2 inches in diameter with 8 to 16 petals; 4 of the petals are usually longer than the rest. This flower bears a fruit in the form of an elongated capsule that grows up to 2 inches long.
Causes of Bloodroot Poisoning in Dogs
While this plant has natural anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used as an antiseptic and diuretic, it needs to be used cautiously. This plant contains a carcinogen called sanguinarine which can initiate apoptosis in certain tumor cells. However, if this is used too long on healthy cells, it can cause more damage than good. This is what makes it such a good natural holistic medicine but also why you have to use it cautiously.
Diagnosis of Bloodroot Poisoning in Dogs
When your dog first arrives at the veterinarian, the team will begin with a physical exam. This will allow the doctor to get a good baseline of vitals and know what is abnormal. The veterinarian will want to run lab work to get a good idea of how your dog’s internal organs are handling the toxin. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will be the blood tests the team will run, as well as a urinalysis to check the kidneys. Depending on what the veterinarian finds, more tests may be ordered. If your dog is having heart abnormalities, she may do an ECG to check for developments of arrhythmias and to keep a close eye on the heart. Whenever possible, bring in the plant your dog ingested; this will allow the veterinarian to diagnose the toxin quickly and without error.
Treatment of Bloodroot Poisoning in Dogs
When all the lab results are in, the veterinarian will be able to determine what treatment is best for your dog. Your dog will be moved to a calm, quieter place where he can receive proper care and to keep him as stress free as possible. Your dog will most likely be put on fluid therapy to flush out the toxin quicker. If your dog is vomiting uncontrollably, an antiemetic will be given; if your dog is experiencing eye irritation, the veterinarian will flush them and apply the proper medication. Any other symptoms your dog is suffering from will receive some type of supportive therapy. Your dog’s veterinarian will do everything she can to keep your dog’s body functioning properly.
Recovery of Bloodroot Poisoning in Dogs
The severity of this toxicity is related to how much of the plant your dog ingested. Of course, the health status of your dog’s health prior to the toxin will play a part in recovery as well. If your pet was healthy to begin with and medical attention was sought out immediately, chances of recovery are good. However, if your pet already had an underlying health problem, such as renal failure, chances of recovery decrease since flushing out any toxin is hard on the renal system. The best thing to do is get your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible no matter how healthy they normally are. Also, if you notice your dog chewing on or eating a plant you don’t recognize and then they begin to act strangely, take them to the clinic as soon as possible. The sooner you receive medical help for your dog, the better the outcome will be for everyone involved.