What is Meadow Saffron Poisoning?
Meadow saffron is one plant you need to prevent your dog from ever ingesting. It can cause serious side effects and can be fatal for your dog. If you believe your dog ingested meadow saffron, you need to get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Mild symptoms of poisoning can include oral irritation and gastrointestinal irritation, but severe symptoms include organ damage, bone marrow suppression, paralysis, and death. Do not wait until your dog is displaying these symptoms to take him to the veterinarian. As soon as you realize he may have ingested any meadow saffron, take him to the hospital immediately to give him the highest chance of survival possible.
Meadow saffron is extremely toxic to your dog if he ingests it. If you suspect your dog ingested any amount of meadow saffron, you need to treat it as a medical emergency and get your dog to the veterinarian immediately.
Book First Walk Free!
Symptoms of Meadow Saffron Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of meadow saffron toxicity may vary from case to case. Symptoms may include:
- Oral irritation
- Increased thirst
- Difficulty swallowing
- Vomit with blood
- Abdominal pain
- Bone marrow suppression
- Multi-organ damage
- Respiratory failure
Meadow saffron belongs to the Liliaceae family. It is known universally by its scientific name of Autumn crocus. Other common names meadow saffron is sometimes known by include autumn crocus, crocus, fall crocus, naked ladies and wonder bulb. The meadow saffron is believed to have originated in the Georgia area. This plant typically produces leaves in the springtime, leaves die in the summer and then the flower appears in the autumn. The flowers come in a variety of colors including purple, yellow, and pink.
Causes of Meadow Saffron Poisoning in Dogs
Meadow saffron contains colchicines and other alkaloids. Scientists are unsure of how colchicines work exactly, but they do know they can have some health benefits as well as negative side effects. Even when used in the medical world, colchicines have many negative reactions. This is why your dog ingesting it in its undiluted form is so toxic.
Diagnosis of Meadow Saffron Poisoning in Dogs
When you first arrive at the veterinarian’s office, she will begin with a physical exam. This will allow her to check your dog’s vitals and note any abnormalities. This will also allow her a thorough look over your dog to evaluate his symptoms. She will then begin blood work so the results can give her needed information on how your dog’s internal organs are functioning. Also, 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 as well as enzyme levels of the body. Depending on the preliminary results, your veterinarian may choose to run more diagnostic tests for further evaluation.
Your dog will be put on monitoring equipment to offer the veterinarian more information she can use to diagnose your dog. Oxygen saturation, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure will all be monitored to allow for proper readings of each.
In addition to these tests, the veterinarian may want to take a radiograph of your dog’s abdomen and full skeletal system. This will allow her to check for any abnormality or blockage that may be causing the vomiting and abdominal pain as well as a possible cause of paralysis. The presence of blood in the vomit can be indicative of ulceration or injury to the gastrointestinal tract. When this symptom develops without any prior signs, it typically indicates some sort of irritation from something he ingested.
If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, a fecal sample will be collected to rule out other possible causes such as internal parasites or bacterial overgrowth. If he vomits while at the clinic, she will inspect the contents for any clues as to what he ingested.
Treatment of Meadow Saffron Poisoning in Dogs
Decontamination of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract is imperative in cases of meadow saffron poisoning. If your dog has not vomited since the time of ingestion, 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 since the meadow saffron can cause life threatening side effects.
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. The more fluids he receives, the more he will need to urinate; the faster he needs to urinate, the faster the toxin will get out of his system. The goal is to get your dog to urinate quickly and frequently to pass the toxin from his system before it is absorbed.
An antihistamine will be administered to help with the swallowing difficulties and respiratory distress. He may also be put on oxygen support to keep is oxygen levels up. Depending on his need, he will either receive oxygen via flow-by method or be placed in an oxygen cage. If this is unsuccessful or he is also going into shock, he will be intubated and kept on oxygen via intubation.
Any other symptom your dog is experiencing will be treated as seen fit by the veterinarian. If your dog is having convulsions, an anti-seizure medication will be administered. If your dog is experiencing weakness, he will be placed in a quiet confined space so he won’t cause accidental injury to himself.
If your dog is experiencing bone marrow depression, he may need a transfusion. However, this can be very hard on your pet and if he is already experiencing other symptoms like organ damage, it may be too much for his body to handle.
Recovery of Meadow Saffron Poisoning in Dogs
Meadow saffron toxicity may be mild to life threatening. The symptoms your dog experiences will determine his prognosis of recovery. If he experiences mild symptoms such as increased thirst, vomiting, oral irritation or something similar, his chance of recovery is good. The more severe symptoms he develops, his prognosis of a full recovery declines. If he experiences convulsions, develops bone marrow suppression, organ damage, respiratory failure, paralysis or something severe, he may not ever make a full recovery or he may not survive.