What is Clematis Poisoning?
The clematis is a flowering vine that comes in many vibrant colors. These vines can grow to beautiful proportions if planted in favorable conditions. They do not need a lot of specific care, making them a popular choice for home gardens. Pet owners should be aware of the dangers that hundreds of types of plants can present to their canine companions; the clematis is one of the garden plants that is mildly to moderately toxic to pets. Ingestion of the leaves, in particular, can cause adverse effects in the digestive system, and exposure to the vine and flowers can cause a dermatologic reaction as well.
The clematis is a member of the Ranunculaceae family and is a relative of the buttercup, documented to be much more toxic. The toxin present in both the buttercup and the clematis is the glycoside protoanemonin. Because plants vary greatly in their level of toxicity, any incidence of ingestion of a garden or household plant should be checked by a veterinarian.
The clematis plant is a member of the Ranunculaceae family and is known to cause toxicity of a moderate nature when ingested by animals. Fortunately, due to the unpalatability of the clematis, cases of poisoning in dogs are not common.
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Symptoms of Clematis Poisoning in Dogs
The flowering vine known as clematis is always found on plant poisoning lists, though it is not considered to be life-threatening. However, your pet can experience gastrointestinal or dermal irritation if exposed to the clematis. In addition, the amount that your pet consumes will have a bearing on the effects as well; smaller dogs will be more affected by a large ingestion, and a pet with underlying health issues will always have a different reaction to eating a plant than a healthy dog will.
- There may be lack of appetite after eating the plant
- Pawing at mouth or face
- Your dog may feel pain at site of contact on the skin
The clematis plant is also known by the names virgin’s bower and leatherflower. There are several varieties of clematis; some have larger flowers than others. A few of the names of these varieties are guernsey cream, Parisienne, sugar candy, jackmanii, and Hagley hybrid.
Causes of Clematis Poisoning in Dogs
- Protoanemonin is slightly soluble in water
- The clematis leaves are thought to be the most toxic part of the plant
- The leaves, when crushed as bitten or chewed, will cause irritation upon contact
- Ingestion of a large amount can cause a burning sensation in the mouth
- Protoanemonin is known to cause nausea
- Animals tend to avoid this plant
Diagnosis of Clematis Poisoning in Dogs
The veterinarian will most likely form his diagnosis based on the history you are able to provide. Do not wait for signs of toxicity to appear before calling the veterinarian. Bring a portion of the plant with you to the clinic and if possible, take note of the approximate amount that your pet may have eaten as well as the time of the incident.
Once at the clinic, the veterinarian may begin the examination by rinsing the mouth of your pet to remove particles of the plant that may be continuing to cause irritation and nausea. An abdominal palpation will be done and if there appears to be a mass or tenderness, the veterinary team may do x-rays to verify if there is a ball of plant material that could possibly lead to obstruction or difficulty in the passing of the stool.
Blood tests may be done, depending on the condition of your pet and his recent health history, to verify if there are any underlying health issues that could be exacerbated by the eating of the plant.
Treatment of Clematis Poisoning in Dogs
Because the clematis has a taste that is unfavorable to animals, instances of large ingestion are not well documented. In many cases of clematis poisoning, the resulting symptoms caused by the eating of the plant are mild nausea, drooling and vomiting.
However, if your dog is older or has a preexisting health condition, he may need hospital care. If your pet has eaten the clematis and is experiencing highly adverse effects such as excessive vomiting, the veterinary team may recommend intravenous treatment to eliminate the chances of dehydration. Dehydration can lead to a myriad of complications that can be avoided with fluid therapy. The intravenous care can also be advantageous if antiemetics are to be administered. Medications can also be given to help your pet eliminate the plant material through a bowel movement. If there is dermal irritation, a member of the veterinary team will gently wash the skin and fur of your dog to soothe the burning sensation.
Recovery of Clematis Poisoning in Dogs
The prognosis for a simple case of eating or coming into contact with the clematis is very favorable. Removing access to the clematis vine in your garden area will be necessary in order to avoid a repeat incident. Many canines who have an interest in eating plants will not discriminate against a plant even though the first time around caused them trouble. When purchasing new plants for the garden, research the species well, taking note of the poisoning risks.