What is Morning Glory Poisoning?
The morning glory plant, a member of the family Convolvulaceae, has many genera and species. Many of the species of the morning glory plant have come from and are native to tropical areas in the Americas. Asia also has an abundance of morning glories; however, they are limited to the temperate and subtropical regions of the continent. The particular species of the morning glory referred to as Ipomoea violacea and Ipomoea carnea are quite poisonous to dogs. When large quantities of seeds are eaten by dogs, it is the many lysergic alkaloids that cause distress.
Morning glory plants are beautiful vines with trumpet- shaped flowers that come in a variety of colors, namely purple, blue, pink, yellow, and white, depending on the specific species. Ipomoea violacea flowers are purplish-bluish hued, and Ipomoea carnea are more within the pink shades. Being true to its name, the beautiful flowers open up in the morning. They prefer sunshine to thrive.
Morning glory poisoning in dogs occurs when dogs ingest the seeds of specific species of this flowering plant. Lysergic alkaloids contained within the morning glory seeds and are toxic to dogs.
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Symptoms of Morning Glory Poisoning in Dogs
The ingestion of morning glory (Ipomoea violacea or Ipomoea carnea) can bring about a variety of symptoms. Side-effects of the toxicity of this plant consist of:
- Liver failure
- Loss of appetite
- Dilated pupils
Hallucinogenic toxins are within a number of plants. Other plants that can be toxic in large quantities due to hallucinogenic effects include:
- Opium poppy
- Deadly nightshade
- Cannabis (small quantities)
- Eve’s necklace
- Jimson weed
- Goldenchain tree
Causes of Morning Glory Poisoning in Dogs
The cause of morning glory poisoning in dogs is the ingestion of the plant. Not all morning glories are toxic; Ipomoea violacea or Ipomoea carnea are the species that are poisonous. Specific causes of toxicity are:
- Lysergic alkaloids are similar to the recreational drug known as LSD
- Lysergic alkaloids are similar to the structure of serotonin
- The promotion of glutamate release
- Lysergic alkaloids bind to receptors within the cortex of the brain
- Has negative effects on the nervous, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems
Diagnosis of Morning Glory Poisoning in Dogs
If you suspect your dog has eaten the seeds of a morning glory plant, it is very important to take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. If you are able to do so, take any type of seeds with you that you feel he has consumed. This will help the veterinarian make a rapid diagnosis.
The veterinarian will observe your dog’s clinical signs and will perform the following tests: blood testing, a biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. The medical professional will also take a closer look at your dog’s plasma concentration, enzymes, and metabolism. He may also choose to take a fecal sample to check for any toxic matter.
The veterinarian may also perform emesis on your dog to test the stomach contents for the lysergic alkaloids. To do so, he may administer a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to help the dog vomit. In addition to the test performed, along with the veterinarian’s knowledge of symptoms due to lysergic alkaloids toxicity, your veterinarian will make a definitive diagnosis and begin treatment.
Treatment of Morning Glory Poisoning in Dogs
Depending on the dog’s extent of poisoning, treatment will vary. Due to the nature of lysergic alkaloids in the fact that they absorb rapidly into the gastrointestinal system, decontamination via emesis is ineffective. Techniques used in treatment will be comprised of the following:
The medical professional will want to keep your dog in a dim or darkened room that is quiet. This is due to your dog’s stimulation of senses, and this type of environment will minimize any stimulation and keep your loved one more comfortable. He will also choose to avoid restraining your dog as much as possible.
In order to stabilize your dog’s cardiovascular system, IV fluids will be given. Diazepam is the drug of choice to help and prevent the occurrence of high amounts of anxiety, tremors, and seizures.
The veterinarian will monitor your dog and give symptomatic attention to any hyperthermia and tachycardia. Hyperthermia and rapid heartbeat are common symptoms that may develop from the seeds of this plant. The body temperature in the heart rate will be monitored on a regular basis for more than 12 hours.
Recovery of Morning Glory Poisoning in Dogs
Morning glory seeds can present a serious level of poisoning. Once your dog is stable, the veterinarian will let you know when you can take your dog home. For further recovery and management, it is very important to monitor your dog without fail and watch for any signs of concern.
Your medical professional will give you any information you need in order to properly care for your dog at home. If your dog requires a special diet due to the irritation of his gastrointestinal tract, your veterinarian will either prescribe specific food or give you a list of what he needs to eat and avoid eating. In order to prevent this from reoccurring, remove all toxic plants such as morning glory and the seeds from your garden. Your veterinarian will want to schedule additional visits so he may examine your dog to be sure he is continuing to remain healthy.
Morning Glory Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
I'm trying to figure out if my dogs symptoms are caused by morning glory seed ingestion. This morning he had some gas and went diarrhea (it was partly bloody). There are morning glory vines on his kennel (will be removing asap) and I'm thinking the seeds could have fallen into his water bowl. How much in seeds is considered toxic? This could just be because he is an old dog as well, but I just wanted to make sure.
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My sister fed my Rottweiler two morning glory flowers from our backyard. I researched about it and now I'm scared because they're poisonous. She didn't think it would harm him but I knew it wasn't a good idea ! He only ate two though , will he be okay ?
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