What is Desert Rose Poisoning?
The desert rose is a beautiful succulent with thick leaves and stems and produces a flower usually in a white with pink or all pink color pattern. This plant does well inside and outside, especially if you live in a warmer climate. While this plant is a gorgeous addition to your home, you may want to think twice before bringing it home. If your dog licks or ingests any part of this plant, he can be poisoned by it. He may only develop mild symptoms such as gastrointestinal upset, or he may develop more serious symptoms such as cardiac issues that can lead to death. The sooner you seek veterinary help for your dog, the better his prognosis of recovering.
The desert rose is a flowering succulent that can grow into a tree-like form. While this is a gorgeous addition to any home, it is toxic to your dog if ingested or licked. If you believe your dog licked or chewed on this plant, take him to a veterinarian immediately.
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Symptoms of Desert Rose Poisoning in Dogs
The onset of symptoms will vary from case to case. Symptoms of toxicity may include:
- Irregular heartbeat
The desert rose is also known by the common names of impala lily, kudu lily, desert azalea, mock azalea and sabi star. Scientifically, this flower belongs to the Apocynaceae family with the full scientific name of Adenium obesum. The entire desert rose is toxic if ingested by your dog, even the sap it produces.
Causes of Desert Rose Poisoning in Dogs
The desert rose contains digitalis which is a cardiac glycoside toxin. This toxin interferes with the electrolyte balance of the heart muscle. Cardiac glycosides inhibit the sodium-potassium pump which allows the heart to work more efficiently. Cardiac glycosides are medications commonly prescribed to dogs with heart problems. However, when given to or ingested by a healthy dog, it leads to toxicity and possibly even death.
Diagnosis of Desert Rose Poisoning in Dogs
If you are unsure what the flower is but witnessed your dog ingesting it, take it with you to the clinic. This will allow for proper identification of the plant and the toxin it contains.
To begin the diagnosis a physical examination of your dog will be the first step. 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 and will indicate if your pet is dehydrated. A urinalysis may also be performed for further assessment of the kidneys.
A radiograph may be taken to allow the veterinarian a closer look at your dog’s heart if he is experiencing cardiac issues. The veterinarian may also want to perform an ultrasound or an ECG as another form of assessment of the heart. If your dog vomits while at the clinic, the veterinarian will examine the contents for any evidence as to what he ingested. If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, a fecal sample may be taken and tests performed to rule out internal parasites or bacterial overgrowth.
Treatment of Desert Rose Poisoning in Dogs
Your dog will be kept on monitoring equipment until his heart returns to its normal function. The monitoring equipment will give constant readings of the heart beat which will allow the veterinarian to observe exactly how the heart is functioning. If your dog’s heart rate is abnormal or part of his heart is malfunctioning, the veterinarian may administer medications to counteract these abnormalities.
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 the 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. Your veterinarian may also provide other therapies or medications according to your dog’s needs.
Recovery of Desert Rose Poisoning in Dogs
The toxicity of the desert rose can range from mild to severe. If your dog ingests a part of this plant and you do not seek veterinary attention for him, his prognosis of a full recovery is very poor. If your dog only licks or ingests a small amount and you seek veterinary care immediately, his prognosis is better, but he still may not survive. If your dog comes into contact with this plant, it needs to be treated as a medical emergency.
Do your homework before bringing any plant into or around your home. While it may be your favorite plant in the world, if there is the slightest chance it can be fatal to your dog, it isn’t worth it. If you do have this plant in your home, keep it at a height your dog cannot reach, even when standing on his hind legs; this includes the wilted, fallen leaves and petals. If you have this plant outside, have it in an area your dog does not have access to.
Desert Rose Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Dog got out of cage this morning and chewed a desert rose plant, she is not exhibiting any symptoms. How long before she should show symptoms or seek treatment ?
Is this plant also poisonous to rabbits? Mine ate a piece this morning (9 hours ago) and isnt displaying any symptoms. I saw the nibbled plant right before I took off to work.
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