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What is Macadamia Nuts Poisoning?

Macadamia nut trees belong to the Proteaceae family, a group of flowering trees found mainly in the southern hemisphere. Several species, Macadamia integrifolia and treaphylla, are cultivated for their nuts which are frequently used in cookies and candy, or eaten by themselves. Macadamia nuts have been found to be poisonous to dogs. It’s not known what causes this toxicity, which does not seem to affect cats or humans. The Animal Poison Control received 48 calls from 1987-2001 with dogs presenting similar symptoms after macadamia nut ingestion and the results were replicated in a study. The symptoms of macadamia nut poisoning are typically non-fatal and resolve within 48 hours. Weakness is the most common sign, followed by lethargy, lack of muscle control, tremors, and fever.

Doses as low as 2.4 grams per kilograms of the dog’s weight have been found to affect muscle strength, with other symptoms such as vomiting and fever being more apparent with larger amounts. Doses as high as 62.4 grams per kilogram have been recorded. Immediate treatment can reduce absorption and hasten the passage of the nuts through the dog’s system. If a large amount was ingested, supportive treatment may also be needed to limit the severity of the symptoms and make the dog more comfortable. In most instances the condition will pass by itself, however if other toxic foods have been ingested at the same time (such as raisins or chocolate), there can be further complications.

Macadamia nuts cause symptoms of weakness and lethargy when they are ingested by dogs. This is called macadamia nut toxicity or toxicosis. Most symptoms will resolve in about 48 hours.

Macadamia Nuts Poisoning Average Cost

From 46 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$750

Symptoms of Macadamia Nuts Poisoning in Dogs

These symptoms could suggest your dog has eaten macadamia nuts.

  • Pieces of macadamia nut in the stool
  • Weakness
  • Back legs collapsing
  • Inability to walk
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Uncoordinated muscles (ataxia)
  • Fever
  • Tremors

Types

 

Keep these products away from your dog.

  • Macadamia nuts
  • Chocolate covered macadamia nuts
  • Trail mix
  • Macadamia nut cookies
  • Any other product containing macadamia nuts
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Causes of Macadamia Nuts Poisoning in Dogs

These are some of the risk factors associated with macadamia nut toxicity.

  • Cookies left out to cool
  • Open containers of trail mix at a party
  • Dogs chewing through a bag
  • Owner feeding nuts to their dog
  • Dogs that like to eat sweet or salty foods
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Diagnosis of Macadamia Nuts Poisoning in Dogs

Diagnosis of macadamia nut poisoning is based on the symptoms and a history of macadamia nut ingestion. If you didn’t see the incident, missing food, chewed containers, or pieces of undigested nuts in the stool can be a good indication. With macadamia nut poisoning, dogs will often have an elevated serum lipase activity on a blood test, as well as hyperthermia (higher than normal body temperature) and signs of muscle weakness are obvious on a physical examination. Further testing may be needed to check for infection or more serious poisoning like ethylene glycol toxicity, especially if there is no known history of macadamia nut ingestion. Chocolate and raisins are also toxic to dogs and more likely to be fatal than macadamia nuts, so ingestion of products like trail-mix with raisins, chocolate covered macadamia nuts, or cookies with raisins and/or chocolate could result in several concurrent toxicities.

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Treatment of Macadamia Nuts Poisoning in Dogs

Vomiting may be induced with cases of recent poisoning and activated charcoal may be given to reduce further absorption in the stomach. A cathartic medication like sorbitol will help to induce bowel movements and eliminate the nuts faster. Other treatments will be based on the symptoms. Medication may be given to reduce fever and make your dog more comfortable. In rare cases intravenous fluids may be necessary. If a large amount was ingested, the veterinarian may want to keep your dog for 48 hours to monitor the symptoms. Other concurrent poisoning like chocolate or raisin toxicity might need more aggressive treatment.

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Recovery of Macadamia Nuts Poisoning in Dogs

Almost all known cases where macadamia nut was the only toxin ingested have resulted in a full recovery. It’s still a good idea to seek treatment however, especially with large doses. Combination with another substance that is more toxic could result in a different prognosis. Chocolate or grape poisoning can both be fatal without treatment. Prevention is the best way to manage macadamia nut poisoning. Don’t leave cookies out to cool in a place your dog can reach. Keep bags on a high shelf or in a dog-proof plastic container. Dispose of old or spoiled nuts in a sealed garbage can and, if possible, train your dog to avoid unknown foods.

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Macadamia Nuts Poisoning Average Cost

From 46 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$750

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Macadamia Nuts Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Shihtzu

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3 years

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Unknown severity

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6 found helpful

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None

My dog ate a macadamia nut by accident

July 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Macadamia nuts can be toxic to dogs if they eat quite a few. If your dog ate one or a part of one, they should be fine. Monitor them closely for signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite, and if you see any of the signs it would be best to have them seen by your veterinarian. Otherwise they should be okay. I hope that all goes well.

July 23, 2020

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Cloud

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American Eskimo

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Vomiting
Eating

Hi, our dog became very lethargic and unlike himself last night. We thought he was just tired and wanted us to leave him alone so he can sleep. Morning comes and we find an opened chocolate covered macadamia nuts box in a corner. we suspect that this is what's making him feel lethargic and disoriented. he also refuses to eat anything and vomits mostly fluids. ;He just lies down now and barely moves around. sometimes he twitches his legs. Other than that, he has a steady heart beat and his eyes continue to show consciousness (he still looks us in the eyes and looks around for the sounds he hears). We're hoping that this will just pass and he'll recover completely after a couple of days. What should we do?

May 31, 2018

Cloud's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

This does not sound at all like Cloud will recover completely without veterinary care. From your description, he is very sick, and needs to be seen by a veterinarian right away. Without supportive care, IV fluids, and medications, he may not make it. I hope that he is okay.

May 31, 2018

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Lulu

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Cocker spaniel mix

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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6 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Back Leg Weakness

My dog managed to get into a small can of mixed nuts which contained macadamias, by the time we found her she had eaten practically the whole can. Next day she has been asleep all day and not acting like herself, when I went to pick her up to move her she started growling when I put my hand near her back legs. Also when she tried to jump on the couch her hind legs gave out and i had to help her up. She weighs about 12-15lbs.

May 6, 2018

Lulu's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Thankfully macadamia nut poisoning isn’t fatal in dogs but may cause gastrointestinal symptoms, ataxia, weakness among other symptoms; there is no specific treatment for macadamia nut poisoning apart from ensuring that a dog remains hydrated. Other types of nuts may cause pancreatitis due to the oily fat content, you should monitor Lulu for the time being but if there is no improvement by Monday morning you should visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/toxicology/food-hazards/macadamia-nuts

May 6, 2018

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Redd

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Husky

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4 Years

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Fair severity

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None

Hi there! I have a 45lb female red husky and she at about 4 macadamia nuts. She's fine at the moment since we just caught it but looking up on the Internet just tells me how toxic it is im afraid and just want to know if the amount she ate is worrisome and if we should induce vomiting.

Feb. 28, 2018

Redd's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Most cases of macadamia nut poisoning results in gastrointestinal symptoms like vomiting; typically symptoms appear after dogs eat around 1g/lb body weight, but this can vary dog to dog. One macadamia nut weighs around 2.6g, so four nuts would be 10.4g which is well below toxic levels. Keep an eye on her for the time being and visit your Veterinarian if you have any concerns. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/toxicology/food-hazards/macadamia-nuts

Feb. 28, 2018

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Oakley

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Catahoula Leopard Dog

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1.5 years

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic

My dog Oakley, went counter surfing while we were at work. He managed to eat 2 chocolate chip cookies, one raisin cookie and about 5 white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. He is lethargic but otherwise seems ok. What to we do??? Vet is closed for the night.

Sept. 22, 2017

Oakley's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Whilst macadamia nuts may cause some gastrointestinal symptoms, they are not considered toxic; however, I am more concerned with the consumption of raisins and chocolate which are both toxic to dogs - raisins can cause kidney failure and chocolate may cause a variety of symptoms including cardiovascular and neurological symptoms, both may lead to death in severe cases. If you have an emergency clinic near by, I would recommend that you visit; otherwise keep an eye on Oakley and administer activated charcoal every eight to twelve hours until you visit your Veterinarian in the morning. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Sept. 22, 2017

My dog’s hind legs has been weak for a month now and i suspect someone from the household fed her macadamia. Though no one would admit to it, macadamia nuts is a staple so there is a possibility. What can i do to improve her condition since it’s already been awhile since the symptoms started.

Feb. 3, 2018

Nikki C.

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Turbo

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Chihuahua

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6 Months

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Fair severity

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Normal

My nearly 2lb Chihuahua eat part of a white chocolate macodamia nut cookie it had tiny through out it so he didnt any actual whole nuts also cat was eating it too...he is showing no symtoms im just concerned

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Scooby

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small

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1 Day

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Mild severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hind Legs Weaknes

My shitzu ate a whole pack of garlic flavored macademia nuts. Now he can't stand long and lying all the time. My friend told me to give him rice which he ate with gusto but he is still weak. What shall I do?

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Chase

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Maltese Shitzu poodle

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Lethargy
Staggered Gate

My dog ate about 8 macadamia nuts last night at around 10pm. She was fine in the morning but when I arrived home she was shaking, staggered gate, lethargy, no vomiting. I took her to the vets to be told there was nothing she could do the nuts had already made their way through her system. I had no idea that the nuts were toxic. I stopped at the chemist and bought some activated charcoal and have given her some. It is 6:30 pm and She is now resting next to me. No longer shaking but still not her active self. She is 7kg. What else can I do for her? How much activated charcoal should I give her?

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Charlie

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Pit bull

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

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Lethargy

Hi, my dog is 9 years old and 60lbs pit bull mix. She just ate about 1 cup of salted macadamia nuts that were left out. We tried to induce vomiting via 3%hydrogen peroxide but she was too stubborn to throw up. It's been about an hour since the ingestion with no out of the norm symptoms. Will she be ok?

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Abby

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australian shepherd mix

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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3 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Depression
Lethargy
Weakness
Vomiting
Ataxia

Following an outing to the mountains where we had taken a bag of macadamia salted nuts, we found the bag had been opened and mostly eaten on the floor of our vehicle by our two Australian shepherd-mix dogs. We went online to investigate whether ingestion of macadamia nuts is toxic and found that it is poisonous to dogs so we went to another website and learned how to induce vomiting using 3% hydrogen peroxide which we accomplished immediately after we discovered the online article on macadamia toxicity. We were successful in getting both dogs to expel most of their stomach contents, but our female dog had eaten much more of the bag's contents than the male and so had digested some of the nuts beyond the stomach and into the intestines. Abby is about 2.5 years old, and weighs about 55 pounds. We monitored both dogs closely after they vomited up the nuts. After the nuts were mostly expelled, the male Australian experienced no symptoms, indicating that all the nuts were mostly all removed from his digestive tract, but the female had classic macadamia nut toxicity symptoms that persisted for about 24 hours including vomiting, lethargy, inability to walk, weak hind legs, ataxia, and depression. These symptoms resolved a few hours after the last macadamia nuts were expelled through defecation; we were quite relieved when she began acting normally again. Upon examination of her stools, we found around fifteen whole macadamia nuts had traveled through her digestive system, together with numerous partial fragments, which totaled right about at the 2.4mg/kg (or 1.2mg/lb) of macadamia nuts which have been linked to clinical signs of macadamia ingestion--vomiting, ataxia, weakness, hyperthermia, and depression. It has now been several hours since the last macadamia nuts were expelled. Abby has fully recovered and is completely back to normal. We are very grateful for all the online information available regarding macadamia toxicity for dogs and proper treatment of macadamia ingestion by dogs.

Macadamia Nuts Poisoning Average Cost

From 46 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$750