What is Mother-in-Law's Tongue Poisoning?
The mother-in-law's tongue plant is commonly seen indoors as a potted plant. This plant is easy to maintain and grow, and adds a pop of color to an otherwise dull room. What many people don’t realize is that the leaves and flowers of this plant are toxic to your dog if he ingests it. The main toxicity symptom that may be seen in dogs is gastrointestinal upset, which is caused by saponins. If you believe that your pet sampled the greenery, or witnessed your dog eating this plant, take him to the veterinarian as quickly as possible. The sooner he receives veterinary care, the higher his chances of a full recovery.
The mother-in-law's tongue plant is commonly found indoors due to its easy care regimen and hardy qualities. While it is a nice plant to have indoors, it is a potential threat to your dog. If you witness your dog eating this plant, you need to contact your veterinarian immediately.
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Symptoms of Mother-in-Law's Tongue Poisoning in Dogs
Onset of toxicity symptoms will vary depending on the amount your dog ingested. Symptoms include
- Ruptured red blood cells
While some symptoms are considered mild, you should seek veterinary care for your dog if he develops any of these.
The mother-in-law's tongue plant is commonly found indoors in offices, homes, and businesses as a decorative plant. This plant has long shaped leaves consisting primarily of greens and yellows. The scientific name for the mother-in-law's tongue plant is Sansevieria spp. The mother-in-law’s tongue goes by the other common names of good luck plant, golden bird’s nest, and snake plant. There are other plants that go by the name of ‘mother-in-law’ and ‘mother-in-law’s plant’ but both are different from the mother-in-law's tongue plant.
Causes of Mother-in-Law's Tongue Poisoning in Dogs
Saponins are the toxic component in the mother-in-law's tongue plant. The rupture of red blood cells comes from severe gastrointestinal related activity of the toxin. Saponins have a foaming action which leads to the gastrointestinal upset. They also disrupt normal cell pathways causing cell death.
Diagnosis of Mother-in-Law's Tongue Poisoning in Dogs
Your veterinarian will begin by performing a physical exam on your dog. This will allow her to assess his symptoms and note any abnormalities of his vitals. If your dog vomits while at the clinic, the veterinarian will examine the contents for any evidence as to what he ingested. If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, a fecal sample may be taken and tests performed to rule out internal parasites or bacterial overgrowth.
Blood work will be performed to give the veterinarian a broad look as to how the internal organs are functioning. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with needed information for proper assessment. A packed cell volume (PCV) may also be performed to determine hydration status. If your veterinarian feels it is necessary, she may also perform a urinalysis for further evaluation of kidney function. If you believe your dog chewed the mother-in-law’s tongue or if you witnessed your dog eating this plant, take a piece of it with you to the veterinarian clinic. This will allow for proper identification of the plant your dog consumed and the toxin it contains.
Treatment of Mother-in-Law's Tongue Poisoning in Dogs
The symptoms of mother-in-law's tongue toxicity your dog is experiencing will determine the course of treatment. If your dog is not vomiting, the veterinarian may induce vomiting to empty the stomach of any remaining plant pieces. She may also decide to administer activated charcoal to absorb the remainder of the toxin before the body absorbs it.
If your dog is vomiting and having diarrhea, fluid therapy with electrolytes will be started. Fluids will correct any dehydration your dog is experiencing and prevent it from worsening. This will also help to flush the toxin from the body quicker. Additional therapeutic medications will be administered as the veterinarian sees fit. If your dog is vomiting uncontrollably, the veterinarian may administer an antiemetic. If he is suffering gastrointestinal upset, medications to protect the lining of the stomach and intestine may be given.
Recovery of Mother-in-Law's Tongue Poisoning in Dogs
Toxicity of mother-in-law's tongue may be mild to moderate, depending on the amount your dog ingested. If a small amount was ingested or if he vomited what he did ingest, prognosis of a full recovery is good. If he ingested a large amount or if he did not receive veterinary care in a timely manner, his prognosis of a full recovery declines.
If your dog likes to sample greenery and leaves, keep this plant out of his reach. While it makes an aesthetically pleasing plant to have indoors, it isn’t worth allowing your pet to become ill. Monitor your dog while he is around the mother-in-law plant and train him to not eat or chew on foliage. Prevention of mother-in-law's tongue poisoning is the best thing you can do for your dog.