What is Morning, Noon and Night Poisoning?
The morning, noon and night plant is a flowering bush that can grow up to nine feet tall with stunning flowers that range from violet to white, changing color as they age. The thick leaves are deep green and rough, similar to leather. morning, noon and night plant originates in South America, but has been cultivated to grow in the southern and western United States. If you did not see your dog eat part of this plant, the symptoms may seem like a spider bite or strychnine poisoning, but a veterinary professional will be able to tell you what the real cause is.
The morning, noon and night plant contains three dangerous substances, which are brunfelsamidine, hopeanine, and scopoletin (gelseminic acid). If your dog eats any part of a morning, noon and night plant, the side effects can be serious enough to be fatal within hours without treatment. These three neurotoxins may affect the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular, and nervous systems within minutes of ingestion, or it could be several hours before any side effects are noticed. These symptoms may be as mild as coughing and gagging to seizures and coma. In some cases, morning, noon and night poisoning may be fatal, especially with a large consumption and delayed treatment.
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Symptoms of Morning, Noon and Night Poisoning in Dogs
The morning, noon and night plant may cause symptoms ranging from a simple belly ache to life-threatening seizures, depending on your pet’s health and how much was eaten. Some of the most commonly reported symptoms of morning, noon and night poisoning are:
- Loss of appetite
- Dilated pupils
- More frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Rigid stance
- High body temperature
- Swollen abdomen (fluid retention)
- Arching of the neck and back
- Muscle spasms
- Blood in urine
- Gasping for breath
- Breathing rapidly
- Kidney failure
- Liver failure
- Respiratory failure
The scientific name for the morning, noon and night plant is Brunfelsia pauciflora from the Solanaceae family. Some of the other common names for the morning, noon and night plant are:
- Brazil raintree
- Brunfelsia americana
- Brunfelsia australis
- Brunfelsia densifolia
- Brunfelsia grandiflora
- Brunfelsia uniflora
- Cuban raintree
- Franciscan raintree
- Kiss me quick
- Lady of the night plant
- Puerto Rican raintree
- Yesterday, today, tomorrow plant
Causes of Morning, Noon and Night Poisoning in Dogs
There are several neurotoxins in the morning, noon and night plant, which are:
- Gelseminic acid (scopoletin) relaxes the arteries, which causes a dangerous decrease in blood pressure, and slows the heartbeat dramatically
- Brunfelsamidine, excites the nerves, causing tonic and clonic seizures, leading to death
- Hopeanine depresses the nervous system and may trigger paralysis and seizures
Diagnosis of Morning, Noon and Night Poisoning in Dogs
Bring a portion of the plant with you to the veterinarian to help aid in diagnosis. When you arrive, the team will perform a physical examination, including overall condition, heart rate, breath sounds, respiratory rate, blood pressure, body temperature, weight, reflexes, and oxygen levels. Be sure to give the veterinarian all the details about the incident, such as how much and what part of the plant your dog ate. You should also tell the veterinarian about your dog’s health history, vaccination records, unusual behavior, or appetite changes.
Laboratory tests will be done next, including biochemical profile, complete blood count, urinalysis, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), electrolyte and glucose levels. To check if your dog is dehydrated, a packed cell volume (PCV) test will probably be done. An endoscopy could also be performed to view the esophagus and remove any plant material. This procedure is done using an endoscope, which is a long, flexible tube with a camera on the end. Your dog will most likely be anesthetized during the procedure. An electrocardiogram (ECG) is sometimes performed to measure the electrical and muscular performance of the heart. Imaging done with x-ray, CT scan, MRI, and ultrasound may also be necessary.
Treatment of Morning, Noon and Night Poisoning in Dogs
Treatment will depend on how much your dog ate and what symptoms he is showing. Early decontamination can help reduce the symptoms, so the veterinarian will induce vomiting with a hydrogen peroxide medication. Also, activated charcoal is recommended if it has been less than three hours since ingestion. Depending on the electrolyte levels and PCV results, the veterinarian may need to give your dog IV fluids. This helps flush the toxins from your dog’s body as well as rehydrates the system. Gastric lavage can be done to further empty the stomach of any toxins left in your dog’s system. Other supportive therapy may be administered depending on your dog’s needs.
Recovery of Morning, Noon and Night Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog is treated within the first 18 hours and there have been no renal system symptoms, the prognosis is good. If you have any questions or concerns, call your veterinarian. To prevent this from happening again, it is best to remove potentially toxic plants from within or outside your home. Even the most well trained dog may let his natural digging and exploring tendencies once again put him in the path of a plant that will cause toxicities.