Iris Poisoning in Dogs

Iris Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Iris Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Iris Poisoning?

The iris plant is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and gives off an aromatic fragrance, two qualities why people enjoy having this plant in or around their homes.  However, if your dog chews on the iris or ingests a part of it, he can become very ill and will need to be taken to the veterinarian immediately.  Depending on the amount and the part of the iris consumed, symptoms may develop quickly or over a period of several hours.  If veterinary care is not sought out, consequences can be dire.

The iris is a flower with a rich history and unique appearance. It can be found as a native flower in the wild and is also found planted in many gardens and homes. If ingested by your dog, the iris can cause symptoms of toxicity and veterinary attention should be sought out immediately.

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Iris Poisoning Average Cost

From 333 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$550

Symptoms of Iris Poisoning in Dogs

The part of the plant and the amount your dog ingests will determine the onset of toxicity symptoms. Symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Depression 
  • Abdominal pain
  • GI ulceration
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Eye irritation
  • Skin irritation
  • Burn-like sores on lips or muzzle
  • Death 

It is a common development for blood to appear in your dog’s vomit or stool if it is occurring excessively or without pause.  

Types

There are over 200 species of Iris plants in the family Iridaceae. The iris was used as a symbol of monarchs and royalty and is represented by the commonly known symbol of “Fleur de Lys”. The iris comes in a variety of colors and varies slightly in appearance, but all of the species are toxic to dogs if ingested. The iris also goes by the common names snake lily, yellow water iris, yellow flag, western blue flag, Douglas’s flag, and water flag.

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Causes of Iris Poisoning in Dogs

The toxic compounds in the iris plant are resinous purgative irisin and cytotoxic terpenoids. The exact function of the toxin in the iris flower is still unknown, but scientists believe it contains ribosome inactivating proteins (RIPs) that interfere with RNA and protein synthesis. The disruption of the cell’s normal pathway usually leads to cell death. The highest concentration of toxin in the iris is believed to be in the bulb, however, the roots and leaves are also toxic if ingested.

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Diagnosis of Iris Poisoning in Dogs

When you arrive at the veterinarian’s office, they will begin by performing a physical examination on your dog. This will allow the veterinarian to assess vitals and note any symptoms your dog is experiencing. If your dog is having soft stool or diarrhea, the veterinarian may perform a fecal analysis to rule out internal parasites. A urinalysis will also be run to evaluate kidney function and to check for blood in the urine.  

Blood work will include a complete blood count (CBC), a chemistry panel, and a packed cell volume (PCV). The CBC and chemistry panel will provide a broad basis of how your dog’s internal organs are functioning. The PCV will show if your dog is dehydrated, and if so, by how much.  

If your dog is drooling excessively or displaying other symptoms of oral pain, the veterinarian will take special care when examining his mouth to note any abnormalities. If you are unsure what plant your dog ingested, take a piece of it to the veterinarian’s office with you. This will allow for quicker diagnosis and therefore quicker implementation of corrective therapies.

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Treatment of Iris Poisoning in Dogs

The symptoms of iris poisoning your dog is suffering will determine the course of treatment. Since the iris plant causes gastrointestinal upset, your veterinarian may try to induce vomiting in your dog. If too much time has passed since the ingestion of the iris plant, your veterinarian may administer activated charcoal.  This will bind with and absorb any remainder toxin that has not been absorbed by the body. Additional medications to protect the intestinal lining may also be administered.

With profuse vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration is a common result. Fluid therapy with electrolytes will be started to help correct any dehydration your dog is experiencing and to prevent it from worsening.  

If your dog is experiencing eye, skin, or mouth irritation, the veterinarian will attempt to flush any remaining toxin from the affected area. Eye health can deteriorate in a matter of hours; the sooner your dog receives proper medical attention, the higher his chances of retaining full function of his eyes.

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Recovery of Iris Poisoning in Dogs

Toxicity from the iris plant may be considered mild to moderate or moderate to severe. The severity of the toxicity will be determined by which part of the iris plant and the amount your dog consumed.  If your dog does not receive veterinary attention, his chance for a full recovery declines. The toxin can cause severe damage to your dog’s gastrointestinal tract which can lead to prolonged healing, loss of appetite, inability to absorb nutrients from his food, or even necrosis of a part of the digestive system. There is no way to heal necrotic tissue in the gastrointestinal tract; your dog would have to undergo surgery for removal of the necrotic section.  

Your dog may be kept in the hospital until all symptoms subside and all of his laboratory work comes back normal. To prevent any of this from happening, educate yourself on what plants you bring in and around your home. Since the iris flower is also a wildflower in many regions, do not let your pet stop and chew on unknown plants when out for walks. If you have this plant in your garden, be sure your dog cannot get to it. If you have it indoors, keep it at a height your dog cannot reach. Even the most well behaved dogs get curious.

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Iris Poisoning Average Cost

From 333 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$550

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Iris Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Oti'

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Basset Hound

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18 Weeks

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13 found helpful

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13 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Loose Bowel Movements

Our Basset Hound puppy Otis is 4 1/2 months old, he's teething a lot at this point. a couple days ago he started tearing out the irises in our yard and was teething on the bulb. I was able to take all the pieces away, and have since removed them. He did not have vomiting, lethargy, excessive drooling, or sore in his mouth that day. But, I'm still worried. Later that evening while on a walk had been stung twice by wasps, so, gave him benadryl in some yogurt. Which we were phasing out of his diet since changing his food to one with probiotic ingredients. It seemed to be causing his loose stools, which had been getting better. We are also removing all commercial treats from his diet, and only using boiled chicken breast. His stool is now closer to normal, but still a little loose. I'm concerned that this may be from the Irises. However he has not lost his appetite at all, and is eating as normal.

Aug. 22, 2018

Oti''s Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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13 Recommendations

The loose stool might be from the irises, but it sounds like he is doing well otherwise, and you should be able to keep a close eye on him for worsening GI signs. If he continues to improve, you should be okay watching him. If he stops eating, starts vomiting, or the diarrhea gets worse, then he should be seen by a veterinarian.

Aug. 22, 2018

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Jax

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Pit bull

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4 Years

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3 found helpful

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3 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Diarreah

Five days ago, I took my 4 year old pit-lab mix to my mom's like I have dozens of times. This time around, I caught him in her irises eating something. Since that day, he's had diarrhea. There has been nothing else I can think of that would cause this. No change in diet, no one giving him scraps, etc. He seems fine other than this, and even though he might not eat right away, he hasn't stopped eating. Should I be cautious and take him in to have any tests or treatment? Or is it safe to let it pass for a while. Again, no change in behavior, and while diarrhea almost has a mucous-like viscosity, there's no blood.

April 17, 2018

Jax's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Without knowing what Jax ate at your mom's house, it is difficult to say if he needs veterinary care, as it could have been anything. If he has had the diarrhea for 5 days now, it seems that it isn't getting better on its' own, and he may need some veterinary help to resolve that diarrhea, whatever the cause was. I hope that everything goes well for him.

April 17, 2018

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Iris Poisoning Average Cost

From 333 quotes ranging from $200 - $3,000

Average Cost

$550

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