What is Dog Hobble Poisoning?
Dog hobble is a plant that does well in almost any environment with very little attention to keep it flourishing. It is a native plant in some regions but introduced to many homes due to its easy to care for qualities. Unfortunately, this persistent beauty is toxic to dogs if ingested. Your dog may only experience mild symptoms of gastrointestinal upset or he may suffer more severe symptoms such as cardiac collapse, coma, and death. Detoxification is a must if you want your dog to have any chance of survival. If you do not seek veterinary care for him, consequences may be fatal.
Dog hobble is an easy to care for foliage type plant many people have in their gardens. If ingested by your dog, it can lead to severe toxicity and possibly death. If you believe your dog ingested a part of this plant, you need to treat it as a medical emergency and get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
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Symptoms of Dog Hobble Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of dog hobble toxicity may develop immediately or over a period of several hours. Symptoms include:
- Pinpoint pupils
- Muscle spasms
- Low blood pressure
- Cardiovascular collapse
The dog hobble plant belongs to the Ericacea family and the genus Leucothoe sp. Other common names it is known by include dog laurel, black laurel, and fetter bush. The dog hobble is native to the United States and grows well in almost any soil making it a popular plant in many regions.
Causes of Dog Hobble Poisoning in Dogs
The dog hobble plant contains grayanotoxin which gives it its toxic properties. Grayanotoxins are able to bind to receptors in the sodium channel causing interference in cell function. When the grayanotoxins bind to the sodium ion channels it prevents them from closing quick enough. This leads to cell depolarization and calcium influx increases. This increase in calcium stimulates acetylcholine that leads to the toxicity symptoms.
Diagnosis of Dog Hobble Poisoning in Dogs
Assessment of your dog’s symptoms and vital signs will be the first part of the diagnosis. 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.
Blood work will be performed to give the veterinarian a broad look as to how the internal organs are functioning after the poisonous exposure. 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.
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. The radiograph will also allow the veterinarian to evaluate your dog’s skeletal system for causes of paralysis. If you witnessed your dog chewing on or ingesting this plant, bring it with you to the clinic. This will allow for proper identification of the plant and therefore the toxin it contains.
Treatment of Dog Hobble Poisoning in Dogs
Fluid therapy will be started immediately to flush the toxin from your dog’s body quickly and efficiently. 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.
Your dog will be put on heart monitoring equipment to allow constant readings of the heart 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 dog will be kept on monitoring equipment until his heart returns to its normal function.
If your dog is suffering muscle spasms, any type of depression, or other mood related symptoms, your veterinarian may move him to a quite, confined place to prevent any accidental self injury. Other medications and supportive therapies will be administered according to your dog’s needs.
Recovery of Dog Hobble Poisoning in Dogs
Even a small amount of dog hobble can severely poison your dog. If you believe your dog ingested any part of this plant, you need to get him to a veterinarian immediately. Early decontamination is mandatory for any hope of recovery. Dog hobble toxicity can range from moderate to severe and even if you seek medical help for your dog as soon as possible, he may not recover.
If you have this plant in your home, keep it at a height he cannot reach it, even when he is standing on his hind legs. If you have this plant outdoors, keep it in an area he does not have access to. You may consider removing it altogether. When you are out for walks, do not let your dog chew on or ingest unknown foliage. Dog hobble ingestion by your dog is a medical emergency.