What is Dock Poisoning?
Dock is a wild plant supposedly edible to humans when cooked properly. However, in its natural form, if ingested by your dog, it can lead to severe side effects and possibly even death. Dock contains soluble calcium oxalate which leads to kidney failure; it may develop quickly, it may develop slowly, it all depends on how much your dog ingests and his health status prior to ingestion. If you get your dog to a veterinarian immediately and she is able to flush the toxin from his system quick enough, your dog may escape severe side effects and make a full recovery. However, if you do not get veterinary help for your dog soon after he ingests the plant, his prognosis of recovery is guarded.
Dock is a type of plant in the buckwheat family that can potentially be fatal to your dog if he ingests it. If you believe your dog ingested a part of this plant, it needs to be treated as a medical emergency. Take your dog to a veterinarian immediately.
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Symptoms of Dock Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of dock poisoning may manifest in different ways in your dog. Symptoms may include:
- Pawing at the mouth
- Irritation of the mouth
- Irritation of the tongue
- Oral inflammation
- Kidney failure
If your dog is experiencing kidney failure, he may not display any outward symptoms as an indication.
Dock is a plant with stems and leaves that are used as a light brown dye. The leaves can also be eaten after being cooked appropriately. Dock and sorrel are common names frequently used interchangeably. Dock belongs to the family Polygonaceae and is scientifically known as Rumex sp.
Causes of Dock Poisoning in Dogs
The dock plant contains soluble calcium oxalate properties. While the insoluble form of calcium oxalate crystals usually leads to oral irritation in dogs who ingest it, this soluble form gets absorbed by the bloodstream and can lead to nephrotoxicity. If nephrotoxicity develops, your dog’s kidneys have become damaged to the point they are unable to rid their bodies of excess urine and waste. In addition to kidney failure, this leads to toxins building up in your dog’s body causing other forms of toxicity.
Diagnosis of Dock Poisoning in Dogs
When you first arrive at the veterinarian clinic , the team will begin by performing a physical examination on your dog. This will allow the veterinarian to assess his symptoms and note any abnormalities of his vitals. If your dog is drooling excessively or displaying other symptoms of oral pain, the veterinarian will take special care when examining his mouth to note any injuries.
Blood work will be performed to give the veterinarian a broad look as to how the internal organs are functioning. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with needed information for proper assessment. A packed cell volume (PCV) may also be performed to determine hydration status. The veterinarian may also perform a urinalysis for further evaluation of kidney function. When she sees the lab work indicating issues with the kidney, she may choose to run more detailed diagnostic tests.
If your dog vomits while at the clinic, the veterinarian will examine the contents for any evidence as to what he ingested. A radiograph may be taken or an ultrasound may be performed to allow the veterinarian a closer look at your dog’s kidneys. If you believe or witnessed your dog chewing on this plant, take a piece of it with you to the clinic. This will allow for proper identification of the plant your dog consumed and the toxin it contains.
Treatment of Dock Poisoning in Dogs
For any type of oral pain, drooling, or foaming at the mouth, the veterinarian may attempt to wash out your dog’s mouth. This will rinse any remaining crystals from your dog’s mouth to prevent further damage. Your dog will be started on fluid therapy to flush the toxin from his body as quick as possible. Since the kidneys may be having issues filtering toxins from the body, by continuously pushing fluids in it will force the body to continue to eliminate it and hopefully the toxins as well.
Your veterinarian may try to induce vomiting in your dog to empty his stomach of any remaining plant particles. If too much time has passed since ingestion, she may administer activated charcoal to bind to any remaining toxin before it is absorbed by the bloodstream.
Recovery of Dock Poisoning in Dogs
Once clinical signs have developed, your dog’s prognosis of recovery is poor. If your dog’s kidneys fail, there is no cure. There are some medications and supplements that can slow the process of complete kidney failure, but in the end kidney failure will be fatal.
If you were able to get your dog to the veterinarian’s quick enough to flush out the toxins before kidney failure became too severe, he may recover. He may be prescribed medications or supplements to maintain kidney health for the rest of his life, but this is a much better alternative than possible death.