Youtube Play

What is Cherry Poisoning?

Cherry trees are used as ornamental trees or as trees to help break the wind. They are members of the Prunus species, which include the chokecherry, peach, apricot, and the cherry laurel. The toxins of the cherry tree are not found within the actual fruit, but in the leaves and the seeds. Not only do the leaves and seeds of the cherry contain cyanide, a deadly agent, the seeds can cause obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract. Cyanide is a chemical that can prove deadly if ingested. Cyanide can be found in the forms of gas and salt crystals, and both forms are highly toxic. Cyanide is not only found in the seeds of specific fruit, but also in materials that are man-made. Cyanide is a known agent in cigarette smoke, extermination products, and plastic that is burning.

Cherry poisoning in dogs occurs when dogs eat various types of cherries’ leaves and seeds. Cherry seeds contain the chemical cyanide that is highly toxic to dogs.

Cherry Poisoning Average Cost

From 45 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Cherry Poisoning in Dogs

Unfortunately, dogs that ingest cherry seeds may collapse and die from the time period of minutes to hours. Signs of cherry poisoning include:

  • Bright red mucous membranes
  • Hyperventilation
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Collapse
  • Death

Types

Cyanide poisoning can occur not only from ingesting cherries seeds, but also other natural foods. Types of other natural foods that contain this toxic substance are:

  • Fruits with pits (cherries, almonds, peaches)
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Elderberry
  • Various forms of grass
  • Clover
  • Legumes (vetches)
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Cherry Poisoning in Dogs

The main cause of cherry poisoning in dogs is from the ingestion of the cyanide-containing seeds of the cherry. The hydrogen cyanide produced by the cherry tree is a natural deterrent to protect itself. Causes can include:

  • Natural production of the hydrogen cyanide to protect against herbivores
  • The storage of the cyanide by the tree in an inactive form, waiting to be activated by predator
  • When a leaf is chewed upon by the dog, cyanogenic glycoside immediately combines with an enzyme to activate it, causing the poisonous agent to form
  • Once ingested, cells are not able to use oxygen to convert food to energy, thus causing a form of asphyxiation
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Cherry Poisoning in Dogs

Since cyanide poisoning can be lethal, it is important to get to the veterinarian or emergency veterinarian very quickly. If you know that your dog has consumed cherries it is vital to tell the veterinarian approximately how many were ingested and how much time has passed since he consumed them. The veterinarian may do a urinalysis, blood work, along with a complete examination. Treatment may need to be started immediately, as in large amounts, this toxin can be fatal. 

If your dog is having severe clinical signs of cyanide poisoning, namely tremors, hyperventilation, convulsions, difficulty breathing, or mucus membranes that are bright red, the veterinarian will need to assess the situation and begin treatment. Diagnostic specimens of the fluid of the stomach can be analyzed for HCN. 

While the veterinarian is running tests, he may give an antidote along with oxygen therapy. Successful antidote may include sodium thiosulfate or sodium nitrate.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Cherry Poisoning in Dogs

Since the bonding of the chemical compound of cyanide must be stopped as soon as possible, treatment will be the top priority at this point. The induction of Fe3 into the dog’s hemoglobin, in addition to IV fluids with nitrates along with amyl nitrates that are inhaled will be a good start towards recovery. 

Inhalation of Nitrates

Amyl nitrate and sodium nitrate are effective antidotes of cyanide poisoning. Many times this is one of the first actions the veterinarian takes when a dog is brought in after ingesting cherries or other toxic fruit seeds. 

Detoxification

Thiocyanate and rhodanese aid in detoxifying dogs that have been poisoned. Either one of these methods of detoxification are given through IV fluids, but are not readily available with most veterinarians.  

Sodium Thiosulfate 

Sodium thiosulfate may be given to the dog orally. Sodium thiosulfate helps halt any more production of cyanide in the dog. Sodium thiosulfate is effective in assisting the cells to convert the cyanide into a specific type that can help the body remove it by way of urination. 

Other Antidotes

There are other antidotes that the veterinarian may use to detoxify cyanide. Antidotes are currently being researched for effectiveness and safety.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Cherry Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog has consumed a large number of cherry seeds and does not have time to get to the veterinarian, the prognosis may be poor. If your dog is able to receive medical attention in time, the treatment methods can be quite effective. It is important to always keep a watchful eye over your dog, especially if he goes outdoors in the midst of cherry trees (or other specific fruit trees).

Once your dog is home from treatment, the veterinarian will provide you with the information you need to take care of your dog effectively. In terms of medications, the medical professional will communicate with you the importance of sticking to a schedule and giving the correct dose. When you are home, it is important to keep an eye on your loved one for any behavioral changes for new symptoms need to be addressed with the physician as soon as possible.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Cherry Poisoning Average Cost

From 45 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$250

arrow-up-icon

Top

Cherry Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Terrier

dog-age-icon

Twelve Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

31 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

my dog ate 10-20 cherry pits. He is around 14 pounds. What precautions should I take? Make him vomit? If so, how? Push fluids or food to dilute?

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

31 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. That is quite a few cherry pits, and there is a concern for an intestinal blockage more than a toxicity, I would think. If it has been less than two hours, it would probably be best to have the dog seen by a veterinarian to induce vomiting, and if it has been more than two hours, the best thing to do would likely be to watch for any signs of distress. If the dog is vomiting, has diarrhea, has a loss of appetite or lethargy, then having them seen by a veterinarian right away would be a good idea. There is a chance that they will pass the cherry pits uneventfully, and I think keeping a very close eye over the next 48 to 72 hours would be best. I hope that all goes well.

Aug. 7, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Shiba Inu

dog-age-icon

One Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

12 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

i found my dog chewing on cherry pits

Aug. 3, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

12 Recommendations

If your dog ate or chewed on enough cherry pits, there may be a toxicity for your dog. If you notice any signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, Dilated pupils, rapid heart rate, or instability, it would be best to have your dog seen by a veterinarian right away. I hope that everything goes well.

Aug. 3, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

Cherry Poisoning Average Cost

From 45 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$250

Ask a vet
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.


© 2022 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.