What is Carnation Poisoning?
The carnation is a flower that has is known to have been cultivated for the past 2000 years. It is used to celebrate holidays, is featured in bouquets, and found in many people’s gardens. Not all carnations look the same. If you have this plant around your home be sure to educate yourself about the plant. When ingested, the carnation can cause gastrointestinal upset and exposure to skin may lead to dermatitis in your dog. These symptoms are considered mild symptoms and therefore recovery in toxicity cases typically goes very smoothly.
The carnation is a type of flower commonly found both inside the home and outside in the garden. While the exact toxin is unknown, it can cause toxicity symptoms like skin irritation and diarrhea in your dog if exposed to or ingested. If your dog ingested a carnation, contact your veterinarian.
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Symptoms of Carnation Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of carnation poisoning may vary from case to case. Symptoms may include:
- Lack of appetite
- Skin irritation
- Itching of the skin
These symptoms are considered mild in cases of toxicity.
The carnation belongs to the family Caryophyllaceae and the genus dianthus. There are many different species of the carnation but all produce the gastrointestinal upset in dogs when ingested. The carnation is also commonly known by the name pinks, sweet William, and wild carnation. The Dianthus caryophyllus is the species of carnation most frequently seen in gardens.
Causes of Carnation Poisoning in Dogs
The toxin the carnation produces is unknown. In most dogs, when ingested it causes gastrointestinal upset, redness of the mucous membranes, and skin irritation. There have been no reported cases of death due to carnation ingestion since the toxin typically causes mild side effects. However, if your dog does ingest a carnation, it is still a good idea to take him to a veterinarian for an evaluation.
Diagnosis of Carnation Poisoning in Dogs
When you take your dog to the veterinarian, she will begin by performing a physical exam. Vitals will be taken and abnormalities will be noted. A complete blood count (CBC), chemistry panel, and packed cell volume (PCV) will provide the veterinarian with a broad understanding of how the organs are filtering the blood and hydration status. A urinalysis may also be performed for further assessment of the kidneys.
If your dog is vomiting at the veterinarian’s office, she will examine the contents for any clues as to what your dog ingested. If he is not vomiting, she may induce vomiting to rid the stomach of any remaining plant particles. If your dog is having diarrhea, a fecal sample will be collected and tested to rule out internal parasites or bacterial overgrowth. If your dog’s skin has a rash or is inflamed in any way, your veterinarian may take a skin scraping sample in order to rule out external parasites or the presence of bacteria. If you are unsure what the flower is but witnessed your dog ingesting it, take it with you to the veterinarian’s office. This will allow for proper identification of the plant and the toxin it contains.
Treatment of Carnation Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog is experiencing any type of skin irritation, the veterinarian may wash your dog with a type of dish soap to wash the topical medication off your dog. A soothing medicinal ointment or cream may be applied to any areas of inflammation to help heal it quicker.
Your veterinarian may induce vomiting in your dog to expel any remaining plant particles from his stomach. If the vomit is clear and unsuccessful at producing any plant remnants, she may administer activated charcoal to bind and absorb any remaining toxin before the body does. Fluid therapy will be started to flush the toxin from your dog’s body quickly and efficiently. Fluid therapy will also correct and prevent any degree of dehydration your dog may be suffering due to excessive vomiting and diarrhea. Medications to ease nausea may be given through intravenous as well.
Recovery of Carnation Poisoning in Dogs
Toxicity from ingesting the carnation may be considered mild. If you believe your dog ingested a carnation, take your dog to your veterinarian. He may recover well without any medical help or in some cases the veterinarian may want to initiate supportive therapies. Overall, prognosis for a full recovery is good.
If you have this flower in your garden, keep it in a region your dog does not have access to or train him to not eat foliage. If you have this flower inside, keep it at a height your dog cannot reach even when standing on his hind legs. Educate yourself on what flowers you bring into your home and plant in your garden. Prevention of toxicity is the best form of treatment.
Carnation Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog ate a small carnation flower. He's 60 lbs. Will it help if he digets it on a full stomach? I can feed him now.
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Thank you, Dr. King.
Tobie has had no symptoms at all since eating the flower this morning at 8 AM, and it's now 1:40 PM.
I will never let this happen again....
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