What is Mock Orange Poisoning?
Plants that make up the Philadelphus genus are commonly referred to as mock orange plants, due to the flowers similarity in appearance and fragrance to the flower that blooms on citrus trees. Mock orange may also refer to Pittosporum tobira, which is a specific species of flowering plant in the Pittosporum family. Both plants are listed as safe for gardens in which dogs are allowed to roam. That being said, dogs are not herbivores, and their digestive systems are not designed to process large quantities of plant material and eating excessive amounts of vegetation can cause dangerous intestinal blockages.
The plants that comprise the Philadelphus genus are known as mock orange plants, as are plants in the Pittosporum tobira species. These plants are non-toxic and are listed on several gardening sites as dog-friendly.
Book First Walk Free!
Symptoms of Mock Orange Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog decides to nibble on any of the plants that are designated as mock orange, they are unlikely to suffer any ill effects. These plants are non-toxic in nature, however, if large enough quantities of the vegetation get consumed, it can result in dangerous intestinal blockages. Symptoms of intestinal blockage usually occur around 24 hours after the consumption of something indigestible. Symptoms of severe intestinal blockage could include:
- Abdominal pain
- Distended abdomen
- Inability to eliminate
- Loss of appetite
- Straining on defecation
- Approximately 60 shrubs are categorized in the philadelphus genus
- They are characterized by simple leaves with serrated edges and sweetly scented white flowers with four petals each
- Several varieties are popular in parks and gardens, and the fragrant flowers can make them quite attractive to insects as well
- This is a species of flowering plant in the pittosporum family
- It is known by several names including mock orange, Japanese pittosporum, Australian laurel and Japanese cheesewood
- The leaves of this plant are small and oval with smooth edges that curl under
- They also have fragrant white flowers, but they have five petals instead of four
Causes of Mock Orange Poisoning in Dogs
Even non-toxic plants can be a source of hazards. Although the risk factor for these situations is low, close observation of your pet is the best way to ensure prompt medical treatment for unexpected happenings.
- Garden plants may attract stinging insects like bees and wasps
- In most cases, stings are a minor annoyance and can easily be handled at home
- If your pet develops an allergy to the venom in bee stings, however, massive swelling may occur and the animal should be rushed to the veterinarian
- The digestive system of dogs is not designed to handle large quantities of vegetation
- Although most dogs do not tend to do more than sample garden plants, some dogs may develop pica, or an overwhelming craving for non-food items
- This can cause the consumption of large amounts of inappropriate materials, such as plants, which can lead to intestinal blockages
- Even non-toxic plants may be treated with decidedly toxic pesticides
- If the garden your pet has sampled from is not your own and symptoms of poisoning occur you should contact your veterinarian immediately
- Canines poisoned by pesticides will exhibit signs such as vomiting, tremors, seizures, and breathing difficulties
Diagnosis of Mock Orange Poisoning in Dogs
Mock orange is not poisonous by itself; if your pet develops symptoms it is usually due to a secondary disorder or misidentification of the plant, therefore, the symptoms would direct the testing. A complete blood count, urinalysis, and biochemistry profile will generally be requested in any case, to detect if there are any imbalances or toxins in the patient’s system. A physical examination will also be completed by the veterinarian.
If an intestinal blockage is the cause, the examiner may find a mass where the vegetation has clumped together or discover that the abdomen is extremely sensitive to touch, prompting a recommendation for further imaging. Ultrasound, x-ray or even a barium study may be selected to accurately visualize the possible obstruction.
If the symptoms appear to be related to a reaction to a toxin, you will most likely be asked for information about your pet’s recent history and any opportunities for inappropriate eating. Tests to check for other plant toxins or possible pesticides will be completed to see if the underlying cause can be determined.
Treatment of Mock Orange Poisoning in Dogs
Treatment will be guided by the symptoms and by the ultimate diagnosis. If the dog appears to be in distress, supportive treatment such as treatment with IV fluids may be begun before a diagnosis is determined. In the event of an intestinal blockage, in most cases, therapies such as fluid therapy can be used to speed the mass through the system. Imaging will be repeated periodically in order to track the movement of the mass until it exits the gastrointestinal system. In severe cases, surgery will be required to remove the mass and correct any damage it caused.
In the event of an allergic reaction, such as a response to an insect sting, antihistamines and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed. If the signs are pointing to ingestion of something that was actually toxic, such as an alternate plant or pesticides applied to the plant eaten, then appropriate steps will be taken to remove the specific toxin. These steps could include inducing vomiting, gastric lavage, the use of activated charcoal, and toxin specific antidotes.
Recovery of Mock Orange Poisoning in Dogs
Although the Mock orange by itself is not toxic, it is important to be alert to possible risks in the environment and unusual behaviors by your canine. Safe plants may attract unsafe insects or be sprayed with toxic pesticides, and eating too much vegetation can cause gastrointestinal distress or blockage. A pet who suddenly develops the urge to eat large amounts of vegetation or other inappropriate items may be responding to brain lesions, vitamin deficiencies, or circulatory abnormalities and should be checked by a veterinarian. The best way to keep your pet safe is by careful observation of their behavior and environment.