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While many people like to incorporate the use natural herbs and oils into their dog’s life, not all of them are safe. Garden chamomile is one of these that can be considered safe but also toxic if taken in excess. If you believe your dog is experiencing negative side effects from garden chamomile ingestion, take him to a veterinarian. Symptoms of poisoning can range from mild to severe, depending on the amount ingested and your dog’s health prior to ingestion. Treatment primarily consists of decontamination and supportive therapies. If veterinary care is sought out quickly after ingestion, the higher his prognosis of a recovery.
Garden chamomile is also known simply as chamomile. While it does have its beneficial properties, it can be toxic to your dog if too much is ingested or if it is taken for too long of a time frame. If you believe your dog ingested garden chamomile, contact your veterinarian.
Symptoms of garden chamomile poisoning can vary from case to case. Symptoms may include:
Chamomile is an herb that has medicinal uses for humans and dogs. Scientifically, chamomile belongs to the Compositae family and goes by the scientific name Anthemis nobilis. Garden chamomile is also frequently called just chamomile, Roman chamomile and ground apple.
When taken infrequently, chamomile can be beneficial in many ways. It can be used as a dewormer, as a sedative, and has antispasmodic properties. However, in strong or long-term doses, garden chamomile can lead to harmful side effects and even bleeding tendencies. Garden chamomile contains volatile oil formed by the combination of bisabolol, chamazulene, anthemic acid, and tannic acid.
When you first arrive at the veterinarian’s office, she will begin with a physical exam. This will allow her to check your dog’s vitals and note any abnormalities. This will also allow her a thorough look over your dog to evaluate his symptoms. She may decide to do some blood work for multiple reasons. Testing the blood will give her needed information on how your dog’s internal organs are functioning, and it will help her to rule out other possible causes of your dog’s symptoms. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel are usually the first tests to be run; it will give the veterinarian a status check of your dog’s major blood filtering organs like the liver and kidney. If your dog is vomiting and having diarrhea excessively, she may run a packed cell volume (PCV) to determine the severity of dehydration he is experiencing. Depending on the preliminary results, your veterinarian may choose to run more diagnostic tests for further evaluation.
If your dog has developed a rash that looks suspicious to the veterinarian, she may take a skin scraping sample. This will allow her to take a look at your dog’s skin under a microscope to rule out a possible bacterial overgrowth or external parasites. If your dog vomits while at the clinic, the veterinarian will inspect the contents for any clues to the cause. If your dog is experiencing any type of fecal abnormality, whether it is only soft, partially formed, diarrhea or anything other than a formed bowel movement, the veterinarian will perform a fecal test to rule out other possible causes for this symptom.
If you suspect your dog may have ingested garden chamomile but aren’t sure, take it with you to the veterinarian’s office. This will give the veterinarian an idea of what she may be dealing with. It will allow for a quicker diagnosis and therefore treatment can commence sooner rather than later.
Decontamination of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract is imperative. If your dog has not vomited since ingesting the garden chamomile, the veterinarian may induce vomiting to rid his stomach of any remaining plant contents. If this is unsuccessful, she may administer activated charcoal to bind to the toxin in your dog’s system before the blood stream can absorb any more of it. If she feels it is needed, she may decide to flush your dog’s stomach; however, this can involve putting your dog under anesthesia and is typically only applied in the more serious toxicity cases.
Fluid therapy with added electrolytes will be started. Not only will this correct for any degree of dehydration your dog is experiencing, but it will also flush the toxin from his system quicker. Even if your dog is not drinking, the fluids will make your dog need to urinate and therefore pass the toxin out of his system. The more fluids he receives, the more he will need to urinate; the faster he needs to urinate, the faster the toxin will get out of his system. The goal is to get your dog to urinate quickly and frequently to pass the toxin before it is absorbed.
If your dog is experiencing any type of skin irritation, the veterinarian may wash hin with a type of dish soap to remove the irritant. However, since the symptoms are coming from an internal source not external, this won’t be very helpful except to maybe help with any symptoms of itching, burning, or irritation he may be experiencing. Some type of medicinal ointment or cream may be applied to any areas of inflammation to help heal it quicker. Depending on the symptoms your dog is experiencing, additional medications and therapies may be administered once fully evaluated by the veterinarian.
In the most severe toxicity cases, bleeding tendencies can develop. If your dog is experiencing internal bleeding, the veterinarian may administer Vitamin K or have to give a blood transfusion depending on the severity of the bleeding. In most cases this can be treated and corrected, but in some instances it is more than the dog can handle.
Poisoning from garden chamomile in dogs may range from mild to severe. If this happens to your dog, the sooner you get him to a veterinarian, the higher his prognosis of a full recovery. If your dog is only suffering mild symptoms such as gastrointestinal upset, his recovery should go well with the help of supportive therapies. If your dog is suffering from bleeding issues, the prognosis for a full recovery declines greatly. If you ever notice your dog bleeding externally or seems to have bruising with no known cause, get him to a veterinarian. With proper medical care, your dog may recover.
Before you bring any herbs into your home or garden, be sure to do your homework as a pet owner. Also, if you are a chamomile tea drinker, keep it out of the reach of your dog to prevent any accidental ingestion.
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