What is Mayapple Poisoning?
Mayapple is a popular spread for ground cover and is used in many areas of the United States, namely in the eastern as well as the midwestern states. Also known as the Indian apple plant, this plant grows and forces within damp areas, such as pastures, meadows, and woodlands. It is also a popular plant along many roadsides of the Midwest.
This perennial plant is an herb and a member of the Barberry family. The Mayapple that possesses single leaves does not contain flowers; the Mayapple that has two leaves normally develop a white, usually six-petaled flower between the stem and leaf stalk. This flower blooms in late spring, and then is replaced by a small, egg-shaped green fruit. The leaves of the plant, along with the fruit (when it is not ripened) are toxic to dogs, both internally and externally. Although the fruit of the Mayapple is toxic when unripened, it is edible once it ripens. When it is ripe the fruit turns a yellowish and greenish color.
Mayapple poisoning in dogs occurs when dogs consume all or part of the mayapple plant. Mayapple contains the glycoside known as podophyllotoxin, which is toxic to dogs.
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Symptoms of Mayapple Poisoning in Dogs
The Mayapple contains a glycoside known as podophyllotoxin that is absorbed through tissue very easily and causes a myriad of side effects. Symptoms of toxicity include:
- Irritation of the skin
The Mayapple is often referred to by many alternate names. It is important to know any alternate names to be aware of the types of plants on your property. Other names for Mayapple include:
- American mandrake
- Devil’s apple
- Hog apple
- Indian apple
- American May apple
- Umbrella plant
- Wild lemon
Causes of Mayapple Poisoning in Dogs
The cause of mayapple toxicity in dogs is the ingestion of the plant or the fruit when it is not ripe. Specific causes of poisoning are:
- Podophyllin, a spindle poison, has a toxic effect on cell respiration
- Mitochondria is affected by the podophyllotoxin
- Electron transport enzymes are halted
- Also halted are cytochrome oxidase and succinoxidase within the enzyme system
- Has teratogenic effects, related to the toxicity upon cell division and the synthesis of nucleic acid
Diagnosis of Mayapple Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog has ingested mayapple, taking a sample to the veterinarian with you will help the veterinarian make a diagnosis. The medical professional will perform a variety of tests, such as blood testing, a biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. These tests may be used to determine the status of the acids and bases within your dog, as well as the amount of the serum electrolytes.
The veterinarian may also induce vomiting to identify the stomach contents. He may also perform a visual chromatographic laboratory test to further identify the plant material. The veterinarian will also examine your dog’s symptoms and look for any signs of deficits of his neurological system and may also check his cardiovascular system, especially in cases of severe toxicity.
Treatment of Mayapple Poisoning in Dogs
Treatment of mayapple poisoning in dogs is supportive. Treatment also depends on the quantity of mayapple plant your dog consumed. Treatment methods may include:
Decontamination is vital in the treatment of mayapple poisoning. The veterinarian may induce vomiting to help rid your dog of any poisons and follow this up with the administration of activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is effective in absorbing any remaining toxins, thus preventing them from being absorbed into the gastrointestinal tract.
Medications may be given to help ease the discomfort of the gastrointestinal system. These protectants coat the lining of the stomach and help it heal from any irritation or inflammation.
The medical professional may administer IV fluids to help your dog remain hydrated, especially if he has been vomiting repeatedly or has suffered from diarrhea. IV fluids are also helpful in maintaining the proper quantities of electrolytes within his system.
Recovery of Mayapple Poisoning in Dogs
In terms of recovery from mayapple poisoning, your dog’s prognosis is good. Once he begins to receive treatment he should recover; however, the veterinarian will need to continue to monitor him to be sure he is recovering properly.
Once you are home with your dog, the veterinarian will give you instructions on how to care for him. These instructions may include a special diet if is gastrointestinal tract was disrupted from the toxins. The veterinarian will want to have another appointment with your companion within a few days to check his recovery. He may also perform another blood test or urinalysis to be sure he is becoming well again.
When home with your dog, it will be important to monitor him closely. If your companion develops signs or symptoms, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian if you have any questions about any of the symptoms.