What is Glory Chain Poisoning?
The glory chain is more often referred to as morning glory, is a very beautiful and fast-growing vine-like plant with blue to purple trumpet shaped flowers. Many people use this as a groundcover or for decorating a chain link fence, which is where the name glory chain came from. While these beauties are easy to grow and are nice to look at, if you have dogs or other pets, it is best to keep them out of their reach. The initial symptoms may be mild or moderate, but there can be liver damage going on that you are unable to recognize. That is why it is best to let a veterinary professional give your dog an examination before dismissing the incident.
The glory chain, more commonly known as morning glory, is known for its chemical hallucinogenic properties used to make the illegal drug, LSD. The seeds are usually what contains the most toxic lysergic acid, commonly known as the drug, LSD. If your dog consumes any part of the glory chain, especially the seeds, the symptoms may be seen within an hour of ingestion. Some of the symptoms can be severe, such as liver failure, but most often you will see agitation and intestinal irritation long before any other effects. The real danger lies in the seeds, with the highest concentration of the indole alkaloids lysergic acid, chanoclavine, lysergamide, and elymoclavine. If you believe your dog may have eaten the seeds or glory chain plant, take him to the veterinarian or animal hospital as soon as possible for medical treatment.
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Symptoms of Glory Chain Poisoning in Dogs
The symptoms of glory chain poisoning in your dog will vary depending on how much and what part your dog ate. The seeds are the most toxic, and can be fatal in a short period of time even in a large and healthy dog. Some of the symptoms to watch for are:
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Hepatic (liver) failure
- Distended abdomen from fluid retention and liver inflammation
- Excessive urination
- Loss of appetite
- Yellowing of skin and eyes (jaundice0
- Loss of muscle control
The glory chain is a member of the Convolvulaceae family, order of solanales, and the genus ipomoea. Some other common names of the glory chain besides morning glory are purple flower, moon flower, and climbing purple vine. There are more than 70 species of glory chains and about 15 varieties. The glory chain got the common name of morning glory because some types open at night and close in the morning, so they are most stunning in the early morning hours.
Causes of Glory Chain Poisoning in Dogs
The cause of glory chain poisoning are the indole alkaloids:
- Lysergic acid (LSD)
Diagnosis of Glory Chain Poisoning in Dogs
Diagnosis of poisoning is based on what you believe your dog has eaten and if you can bring in a portion of the plant it can be most helpful. Give your veterinarian a complete history to help make the right diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. The information the veterinarian will need are your dog’s age, breed, and overall health, what part and how much of the glory chain your dog consumed, symptoms you have seen, any medications or prior illnesses or injury, and behavioral changes.
The veterinarian will perform a comprehensive physical examination including, but not limited to vital signs, weight, reflexes, breath sounds, pulse oximetry, respirations, and heart rate. Laboratory tests will be done, which will include blood tests, urinalysis, and liver enzymes. Your veterinarian may also want to get some x-rays, an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI as well.
Treatment of Glory Chain Poisoning in Dogs
Your dog’s treatment is usually based on symptoms and test results. Most often, your veterinarian will induce vomiting with a hydrogen peroxide solution and use an activated charcoal lavage to absorb the toxins and get rid of undigested parts of the plant or seeds. To decrease chances of dehydration and flush the kidneys, IV fluids will be given for a time determined by amount of toxins ingested. For severe symptoms or a dangerous amount of seeds eaten, your dog will be admitted to the hospital for observation for at least 24 hours.
Recovery of Glory Chain Poisoning in Dogs
If you get treatment for your dog within eight hours after the symptoms start, and only parts of the plant were ingested, the prognosis usually good. Unfortunately, if more than two seeds were eaten, the recovery rate is drastically reduced. However, with treatment your dog’s chances of recovery are much better. The veterinarian may keep your dog overnight for observation if the symptoms are severe. Be sure to remove the plant from your home or property so this will not happen again and call your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.