What is Hortensia Poisoning?
The hortensia, also known as the hydrangea, is a beautiful plant that is mostly seen in landscaped lawns and gardens with bursts of colorful flowers of many hues. The flowers on the hortensia are large clusters and come in a variety of colors, such as blue, pink and white.
Hortensia is among the genus Hydrangea and in the family of Hydrangeaceae. This beautiful, woody shrub is native to Eastern Asia and the Western Hemisphere. It is a smaller species of plants, as there are only 23 species. Hortensia is a very popular, decorative plant not only used in landscaping, but also as flowering decor at weddings and other events.
Although very aesthetically pleasing, the hortensia is toxic to dogs. If your dog ingests the flowers or the leaves of the shrub, he will develop signs of toxicity in a very short time. Many of the symptoms are mild to moderate, but immediate medical attention is still required. Additionally, a large ingestion of the plant, though rare, can be highly dangerous due to the effects on the heart.
Hortensia poisoning in dogs is a result of dogs ingesting the hortensia shrub. The flowers in the leaves of this shrub contain cyanogenic glycosides, which are highly toxic to dogs.
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Symptoms of Hortensia Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of hortensia poisoning in dogs will vary, depending upon the level of toxicity and how much is eaten. Symptoms may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid heart rate
Hortensia is a very popular plant that has several different names. Becoming familiar with the names of the plant will help you know which plants on your property are toxic. Some types of hortensia include:
- French hydrangea
- Panicled hydrangea
- Hills of snow
- Seven bark
- Hydrangea petiolaris
- Hydrangea arborescens
- Oakleaf hydrangea
- Hydrangea sargentiana
- Lacecap hydrangea
- Mophead hydrangea
Causes of Hortensia Poisoning in Dogs
Causes of hortensia poisoning in dogs is the consumption of the plant, either the flowers or the leaves. Specific causes of hortensia poisoning in dogs include:
- Contains hydrangin, a cyanogenic glycoside
- Cyanogenic glycosides are the plant’s natural defense
- The toxic enzymes are “activated” when the leaves are crushed, or chewed
- Cyanogenic glycosides become hydrolyzed in the gastrointestinal organs
Diagnosis of Hortensia Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog has eaten part of a hortensia plant, call your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian may suggest that you give your dog a hydrogen peroxide solution or other solution to induce vomiting. It may be helpful to take a sample of the vomit, as well as the plant, into the veterinarian’s office with you.
Once you get to the veterinarian’s office, he will begin to assess your dog’s symptoms. In order for the cyanide ion becomes present within the dog’s system, the cyanogenic glycosides must first become hydrolyzed within the gastrointestinal tract. This could take a few hours, which will allow your veterinarian to properly assess your dog in time. The veterinarian will conduct bloodwork, urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile. An electrocardiogram may also be performed to check the status of the heart rate, and endoscopic may be performed to check for any information in the gastrointestinal tract.
During the diagnostic process, your veterinarian may give your dog intravenous fluids and continue to check his electrolyte levels. The veterinarian will also perform any other test in which he feels are necessary according to your dog’s symptoms. If you are unable to perform emesis at home, the medical professional may do that as well in order to have the dog get rid of any plant material and toxic substances.
Treatment of Hortensia Poisoning in Dogs
Supportive and symptomatic care is given, and treatment may differ from dog to dog. Treatment methods may include:
IV fluids prevent any dehydration, encourage proper kidney function and urination, and restore any lost electrolytes.
Inducing vomiting will help the dog dispel any toxic substances from the hortensia plant. Once vomiting has occurred, the veterinarian will administer one or more doses of activated charcoal to prevent any poisons from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Hortensia affects the gastrointestinal system, and gastric lavage may be performed to further flush out any toxins from the gastrointestinal tract. The veterinarian will anesthetize your dog and insert a tube into his stomach by way of the mountain esophagus, and flush the stomach contents using saline or water. This is also known as “pumping the stomach”.
Your dog will be monitored throughout his hospital stay. The veterinarian will monitor his heart rate, temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen levels, urination, and other symptoms that your dog may be having. The veterinarian will determine the length of his stay and will keep him monitored throughout. Timely veterinary therapy is key to the recovery of your pet.
Recovery of Hortensia Poisoning in Dogs
Once your dog’s body has neutralized the poison, the veterinarian will decide when it is time to go home. When your dog is released, it will be very important to follow the veterinarian’s instructions for at-home care. These instructions may include giving your dog a bland diet or prescription diet in order for his gastrointestinal system to heal. The veterinarian may also suggest encouraging rest and avoiding romping and playing indoors and outdoors.
Your veterinarian will want to see your dog again to ensure he is recovering properly. It is very important to keep all appointments and to follow the veterinarian’s advice for care at home. If your dog begins to develop new symptoms, contact your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.
It may be recommended that you check your property and inside your home for toxic plants. If you are unable to remove the hortensia from your property, your dog must always be monitored when outside to prevent ingestion of the plant from occurring. If you have house plants, research and find out if they are poisonous to dogs, and if so, remove them from the home to prevent any further poisoning.