What is Daffodils Poisoning?
One of the most common causes of daffodil poisoning in dogs is from access to bulbs because they contain the highest amount of both toxins. The dust from the bulbs is also dangerous when inhaled because it can destroy the tissues in the mucous membranes as well as the upper respiratory tract. The lycorine has the ability to cause dangerous arrhythmias from cardiac changes, and the calcium oxalate can cause kidney failure if enough is consumed. Daffodil poisoning is very similar to exposure of the hyacinth in that when the plant parts or bulbs are chewed, it can result in tissue irritation to the mouth and esophagus. Skin contact with the plant or the bulbs can produce pain, swelling, and blisters.
Daffodil (narcissus) poisoning is caused by the flowers, stems, and leaves. These flowers have lycorine, which is an alkaloid that can trigger vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and even heartbeat irregularities. However, it is the bulbs that hold the most concentrated amount of lycorine, which is what makes them the most dangerous. The bulbs and flowers also contain calcium oxalates, which are tiny, needle-shaped crystals that cause intense pain in the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat. Once ingested, they can cause stomach pain and vomiting. Daffodil poisoning can result in trouble swallowing, serious heart irregularities, and respiratory distress, so if you think your dog has eaten any part of the daffodil or bulbs, you should go to your veterinarian or animal hospital or clinic. Skin exposure also causes symptoms, such as burning, rash, itching, and inflammation.
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Symptoms of Daffodils Poisoning in Dogs
The symptoms of daffodil poisoning depend on whether it is the bulb or the flower that is consumed, how much your dog eats, and your dog’s health. The symptoms are different depending on whether it is oral (ingestion), inhalation, or topical (skin) exposure. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Abdominal pain
- Abnormal breathing
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Shortness of breath from pulmonary edema
- Oral poisoning is the consumption of any part of the daffodil flower, plant, or bulb
- Inhalation is breathing in the dust from the daffodil bulbs
- Topical exposure is skin contact with of any part of the daffodil flower, plant, or bulb
Causes of Daffodils Poisoning in Dogs
The cause of daffodil poisoning is the ingestion or exposure to any part of the plant, including the flowers, stems, leaves, and bulbs. The bulbs have the highest concentration of the toxins lycorine and calcium oxalate. Some ways your dog may come into contact with the daffodil are:
- Digging up bulbs
- Eating or contact with flower, stems, or leaves
- Eating or contact with bulbs
Diagnosis of Daffodils Poisoning in Dogs
Bring part of the plant with you so the veterinarian can tell exactly what type of daffodil your dog ate or came into contact with. If your dog is having trouble breathing, the veterinarian will administer oxygen through a cannula, which is a tube through the nose. In addition, intravenous fluids will be started to reduce dehydration from diarrhea and vomiting. Inform your veterinarian as much as you know about when it happened, how much and what part of the daffodil your dog consumed. This will help speed up the diagnosis, and the faster the diagnosis, the sooner treatment can be started. Your dog’s medical history is also essential to your dog’s diagnosis and treatment, so be sure to let your veterinarian know whether your dog has been ill or injured lately, what immunizations he has had, breed, age, and any strange behavior or appetite you have noticed recently.
The veterinarian will start by doing a physical examination of your dog including physical appearance, weight, reflexes, body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respirations, lung sounds, and inspection of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Laboratory tests will be conducted next, such as electrolyte levels, blood gases, biochemistry panel, complete blood count (CBC), and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels. The veterinarian can also perform an endoscopy by inserting a flexible tube with an attached camera into your dog’s throat to get a good view of the upper respiratory system. Your dog will be anesthetized and have oxygen and IV fluids administered during the procedure. Radiographs (x-rays) will also be done to get a good view your dog’s intestinal tract and stomach. Additionally, an ultrasound will be used to check the size of the kidneys and evaluate any damage. In some cases, your veterinarian may use an MRI or CT scan to get a more detailed look at the kidneys or other internal organs.
Treatment of Daffodils Poisoning in Dogs
The veterinarian will induce vomiting and perform a gastric lavage with activated charcoal to rid the body of any toxins. IV fluids will be continued for about 12 to 24 hours, depending on the level of symptoms. For topical exposure, the veterinarian will wash the area with warm, soapy water and apply anti-itch and antibiotic creams. Inhalation exposure can be dangerous if your dog has inhaled a large amount of dust from the bulbs. Your veterinarian will keep your dog on oxygen for at least 24 hours and treat him with an oral or inhaled steroid, such as albuterol.
Recovery of Daffodils Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog is treated within the first 24 hours, the prognosis is good. In the case of inhalation exposure, your veterinarian may decide to continue steroid treatment for several weeks or months, depending on the damage to your dog’s lungs. Make sure you get rid of any daffodils or bulbs from anywhere your dog may be able to get to. If you go to a park or any other public place, be sure to keep your eye on wherever your dog goes in case there are poisonous plants such as daffodils. Call your veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions.
Daffodils Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Hi my dog ate 1 daffodil stem today, since then she has been sick twice- she has brought up all of her food along with the stem and grass she ate ... to touch her tummy she feels ok and doesn’t seem to be in pain her breathing is normal, she isn’t drowsy and is in good form, playing etc... she has had no dihoria either should I be worried?!
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Hiya, my dog ate the top of a growong daffodil and has thrown up around 4 times within the past 2 hrs of consuming it. He vomited parts of the flower but Im not sure whether all of it is out, he also vomited a lot of his food out as well. Should I still feed him? Will he be okay? What should I do now? What are the chances of this being very severe? How can I tell the severity? Thanks
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