What is Dracaena Poisoning?
This plant flourishes indoors; it is a plant that can be found in offices, classrooms, and malls because it does best in warmer temperatures, needs a bright area but does not require direct sunlight, and does well in varying humidity. All of these factors make it ideal for indoor spaces. It also does well outdoors. This plant is very adaptable making it a very popular plant to have in your garden or home. What many people don’t realize though is that is toxic to dogs when they ingest it.
Canines can show signs of dracaena poisoning such as weakness, drooling, and diarrhea. Symptoms are generally mild to moderate, though your pet can become dehydrated if he experiences frequent vomiting. Veterinary care is suggested any time that your pet ingests a toxic plant that causes him to become ill.
Dracaena is a plant common in many households due to the attractive vibrancy and green color. However, this plant is very toxic to your dog if he ingests it. If he does, you need to contact your veterinarian immediately.
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Symptoms of Dracaena Poisoning in Dogs
Since this is a popular plant, toxicity does happen frequently. Symptoms of toxicity include:
- Vomiting (with possible presence of blood)
- Stomach irritation
- Intestinal irritation
If you have a suspicion or see dog chewing on or eating this plant, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
The dracaena plant is in the scientific family Agavaceae. There are forty different species of this plant with varying traits in each; all are toxic to pets when ingested. Most dracaena found in homes and businesses are the type that grows between 2 and 10 feet tall. This is a hardy plant that needs little upkeep making it the ideal plant to have indoors. This plant also goes by numerous common names like cornstalk plant, corn plant, lucky bamboo, money tree, ribbon plant and dragon tree.
Causes of Dracaena Poisoning in Dogs
The toxic chemical in the dracaena plant is not well documented. Scientists believe the plant contains steroidal saponins that cause the toxicity symptoms. Saponins have foaming properties which lead to the gastrointestinal upset we may see in our pets after ingestion, and also taste bitter which causes the loss of appetite. Even though this plant does have these natural deterrents, some animals still insist on eating them.
Diagnosis of Dracaena Poisoning in Dogs
When you arrive at the clinic, the veterinarian will perform a physical examination on your pet. This will allow her to check your dog’s vitals and note any symptoms he is exhibiting. Blood work, such as a complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel, may be run to ensure your dog’s internal organs are still functioning properly. A packed cell volume (PCV) test will likely to be ordered to see if, and by how much, your dog is dehydrated. The veterinarian may also do a urinalysis to check kidney function. Any other type of blood work or diagnostic testing will be on a case by case basis since most toxicity cases do not result in life-threatening side effects. When possible, bring in a part of the plant when you go to your veterinarian. This will allow the team to know exactly what they are dealing with.
Treatment of Dracaena Poisoning in Dogs
Treatment will depend on what toxicity symptoms your dog is showing. The PCV results will let your veterinarian know how much corrective and supportive fluids your dog needs. In most cases, putting your dog on fluids is the first step of treatment whether they are dehydrated or not. This will help the toxin to be flushed out of the dog’s system quicker. Specific fluids may be given to correct an electrolyte imbalance if one has developed. Other types of supportive therapy will also be administered depending on your dog’s needs.
Recovery of Dracaena Poisoning in Dogs
The toxicity of dracaena poisoning in dogs is considered mild to moderate depending on how much your dog consumed. Recovery prognosis is good if proper medical attention was sought out in a timely manner. Even if your dog is showing only mild symptoms of toxicity, it is always a good idea to contact your veterinarian. Some dogs recover well at home, but others need medical help; especially if there is excessive vomiting and diarrhea as dehydration is likely. This can be remedied easily with very little stress for your pet.
Educate yourself before you bring a new plant into your home or into an area your dog frequents. If you have this plant, be sure you keep it out of your pet’s reach even when he is standing on his hind legs. Regularly prune the wilted and fallen leaves. If you have this plant outside, consider putting it in an area your pet does not have access to. Prevention of ingestion of this plant is the wisest choice and safest for your canine companion.
Dracaena Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
I have a 14 week old chihuahua that just chewed one leaf of a Dracaena marginata plant in our living room should we see a vet?? We are worried she shows no symptoms yet
Symptoms of dracaena poisoning show fast with drooling being the first symptom; if Bella just chewed the leaf and didn’t consume any ensure that her mouth is washed out well and monitor her for symptoms of poisoning which are vomiting, diarrhoea and weakness (in addition to the drooling). Severity is usually low, but if you are concerned, you should visit your Veterinarian or call the Pet Poison Helpline. Also, it may be worth moving the plant somewhere it cannot be reached by Bella as dogs rarely learn if something seems tasty. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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My dog chewed up a dracaena plant 2 weeks ago and today he has watery stole and won't eat do you think this could be related? He drinks lots of water and eats.
Symptoms from consumption of a dracaena plant present quickly and cause gastrointestinal irritation as well as neurological symptoms if a large quantity is consumed; I cannot see a connection between the consumption of dracaena two weeks ago and the symptoms presenting today. Vomiting and diarrhoea may be attributable to infections, parasites, poisoning (from something else), dietary problems etc… Ensure that Milo remains hydrated and if the vomiting and diarrhoea continues, visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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