What is Ground Apple Poisoning?
The ground apple plant is found across North America with white flowers and yellow centers. It is more commonly recognized by its name of ‘chamomile’. While this plant can have is good medicinal uses, when given in excess, taken for extended periods of time, or if your dog has a previous health issue, it can lead to severe toxicity. Decontamination is the goal of treatment. If you suspect your dog may be having a reaction to the ground apple, get him to a veterinarian. Most dogs recover well with supportive therapies but in the most severe toxicity cases involving bleeding complications, the dog may not survive.
Ground apple, more commonly known as chamomile, does have its beneficial medicinal uses, but can pose a toxic threat to your dog if taken in excess. If you believe your dog ingested too much ground apple plant, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
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Symptoms of Ground Apple Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of ground apple poisoning can vary from case to case. Symptoms may include:
- Skin inflammation
- Skin irritation
- Long term use can lead to bleeding tendencies
Ground apple is a plant also known as chamomile, garden chamomile, and Roman chamomile. Scientifically, this plant belongs to the Asteraceae family with the scientific name of Anthemis nobilis. The ground apple plant is found in various regions across North America and can be used for its many beneficial medicinal qualities. However, if taken in excess, or if your dog is more sensitive to it, it can be toxic.
Causes of Ground Apple Poisoning in Dogs
When taken infrequently, ground apple can be beneficial in many ways. In the past, it has been used as a dewormer, as a sedative, and it has antispasmodic properties. However, if given in excess or administered over a longer period of time, ground apple can lead to your dog suffering harmful side effects and even bleeding tendencies. Ground apple contains volatile oil formed by the combination of bisabolol, chamazulene, anthemic acid, and tannic acid.
Diagnosis of Ground Apple Poisoning in Dogs
The analysis of your companion’s vital signs will be the first step in the diagnosis. An evaluation of symptoms will be next, and the veterinarian may decide to do some blood work for multiple reasons. Doing so 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 or the state of the skin 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.
Treatment of Ground Apple Poisoning in Dogs
Decontamination of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract is imperative in cases of ground apple poisoning. If your dog has not vomited since ingesting the ground apple, 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 poisoning cases.
Fluid therapy with electrolytes will be started almost immediately. 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 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 your dog with a type of mild 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 possibly 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 inflammation to help with the itching or irritation and 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 decide to perform a blood transfusion depending on the severity of the bleeding. In some cases this can be treated and corrected, but in some cases it is more than the dog’s system can handle.
Recovery of Ground Apple Poisoning in Dogs
Poisoning from ground apple in dogs may range from mild to severe. If you believe your dog is having a reaction to ground apple, 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 with no apparent cause or seem to have bruising for no reason, get him to a veterinarian immediately. With proper medical care, your dog may recover.