What is Feather Geranium Poisoning?
Feather geranium, also commonly known as Jerusalem oak, is a self seeding poisonous plant. While some scientists believe it has the potential to be helpful to some medical conditions, such as cancer, its toxic principles limit its uses. If your dog ingests this plant, he may develop signs of gastrointestinal irritation and related symptoms. If this occurs, take your dog to the veterinarian for decontamination. With supportive therapies from your veterinarian, your dog’s prognosis for a full recovery is good.
Feather geranium is a hardy, annual, scented plant that poses as a potential toxic threat to your dog. If your dog ingested a piece of this plant and is now acting oddly, contact your veterinarian immediately.
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Symptoms of Feather Geranium Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of feather geranium poisoning may appear within a few minutes of ingestion or within a few hours; it varies from case to case. Symptoms may include
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Weight loss
The feather geranium is a plant with a weedy appearance with green nettle-like flowers. This plant also goes by the common names Jerusalem Oak and Ambrosia Mexicana. Scientifically, this plant belongs to the Chenopodiaceae family and has the scientific name of Ambrosia Mexicana.
Causes of Feather Geranium Poisoning in Dogs
Feather geranium contains sesquiterpene lactones which can be highly irritating to the gastrointestinal tract. In the past, plants with this toxin have been used as a source of pest control and to control parasitic infections. While it is believed this toxin presents potentially helpful therapeutics agents against inflammation and cancer, its toxic quality prevents it from being used.
Diagnosis of Feather Geranium Poisoning in Dogs
Upon arrival at the veterinarian’s office, your dog will receive a physical exam. This will allow the veterinarian to properly assess his symptoms and check his vitals. The veterinarian will begin to take samples from your dog to begin diagnostics. Samples collected may include blood, feces, urine, and if applicable, vomit.
A urine sample will allow for assessment of your dog’s kidneys, the fecal will rule out other possible causes of his symptoms like internal parasites or a bacterial overgrowth, and if your dog vomits, the contents will be examined for clues as to what he ingested.
Blood samples will be collected for an overall look at your dog’s current health status. If any of his internal organs are malfunctioning, it will be indicated on the results. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel are two tests commonly run for basic diagnostics. A packed cell volume (PCV) may also be performed to determine hydration status if it is a concern.
The veterinarian may want to take a radiograph of your dog’s gastrointestinal tract to look for a blockage or any abnormality. This will allow her to rule out other possible causes of your dog’s symptoms and will also give her an idea if surgical correction is needed or not. 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 Feather Geranium Poisoning in Dogs
Fluid therapy will begin immediately. Not only will this combat any dehydration your dog may be experiencing, but it will also increase the rate the toxin is being flushed from his body. Your veterinarian may induce vomiting in your dog to expel any remaining plant particles from his stomach to avoid further absorption of the toxin by the body. If the vomit is clear and unsuccessful at producing any plant remnants, she may administer activated charcoal to bind and absorb any toxin that is still in your dog’s system.
If your dog is experiencing weight loss from loss of appetite and anorexia, the veterinarian will administer an appetite stimulant to get him interested in eating again. In the meantime, she may also administer electrolytes with the fluids to give his immune system the boost it needs. Depending on how long the anorexia has been going on, your dog may need to be hospitalized and fed via a feeding tube. However, in most situations by offering your dog foods he does not normally receive, like boiled chicken and rice or canned food, he becomes interested enough to eat without assistance.
Once your dog starts eating again and feeling better, his depression and weakness should subside. The veterinarian may administer additional medication in accordance with your dog’s needs.
Recovery of Feather Geranium Poisoning in Dogs
If you believe your dog ingested a part of this plant, the sooner you get him to a veterinarian the better. The longer your dog has this plant in his system, the higher his chances of toxicity symptoms developing. If your dog cannot stop vomiting, and therefore cannot eat, his condition will decline rapidly since his body will not be getting the nourishment it needs to thrive.
The veterinarian has the proper methods to help your dog; getting him to the veterinarian is very important. Do not have this plant in or around your home, or at the very least, not in an area your dog has access to. When out on walks, do not let him chew on or ingest unknown plants. Prevention is the best form of treatment.