What is Mum Poisoning?
Mums come in many different sizes, colors, and styles, but they are all toxic. They contain several poisons, including pyrethrins, sesquiterpene lactones, and other possible irritating substances. The toxins in the mum are natural bug repellants, which is why mums do not have many pest control problems. The pyrethrins affect sodium channels in your dog’s body, creating an overactivity of the central nervous system, hypersensitivity, and respiratory failure, which leads to death if not treated immediately.
Mum poisoning in dogs is a serious disorder caused by the consumption of any plant from the Chrysanthemum genus. The entire plant is poisonous and contains sesquiterpene lactones, pyrethrins, and several other toxic substances. Both the lactones and pyrethrins are used to produce insecticides, and can cause low blood pressure, respiratory failure, coma, and death in severe cases.
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Symptoms of Mum Poisoning in Dogs
Signs that your dog ate part of a mum can range from a mild case of dermatitis to coma and death. These signs may show up immediately, or it may take up to 24 hours. The severity of the symptoms depends on how much your pet consumed, but the most commonly reported are:
- Throat clearing
- Excessive scratching
- Appetite loss
- Dilated eyes
- High body temperature
- Breathing difficulty
- Respiratory failure
The scientific name for the mum is Chrysanthemum spp. from the Compositae genus in the Asteraceae family. There are more than 50 species of mums, but the most common names the mum is known by are:
- Corn daisy
- Garland chrysanthemum
- Hardy garden mum
- Indian chrysanthemum
- Tricolor daisy
Causes of Mum Poisoning in Dogs
There are several toxic substances in mums, which are:
- Sesquiterpene lactones
- Other potential irritants
Diagnosis of Mum Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog is stable when arriving at your veterinarian’s office or clinic, she will perform a complete check-up before doing any laboratory testing. Explain to the veterinarian what your dog ate, how much, and bring a photo or sample of the plant with you. It is also helpful if you can bring your dog’s medical and immunization records. If you do not have them, just be sure to tell her about any medications your pet is on. The check-up includes a comprehensive physical examination, checking your pet’s weight, body temperature, reflexes, blood pressure, pulse, respirations, breath sounds, and oxygen level.
An electrocardiogram (EKG) is helpful in regulating your dog’s heart rate and activity. The veterinarian may want to rule out other disorders such as hypoglycemia, encephalopathy, epilepsy, and lead toxicity. A complete blood count (CBC), blood chemistry profile, liver panel, glucose levels, and urinalysis will be done. With these laboratory tests, the veterinarian can measure the amount of creatinine, sodium, potassium, chloride, phosphorous, protein, albumin, and bilirubin in your pet’s system. In addition, she may check the levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and alkaline phosphatase (ALKP). Abdominal x-rays are usually done as well and possibly an ultrasound.
Treatment of Mum Poisoning in Dogs
Your dog’s treatment will be based on how much your dog consumed and his clinical signs. The normal protocol for mum poisoning is elimination of the toxins by emesis, detoxification with fluids, medication, and observation.
To remove the toxins from your pet’s body, the veterinarian will give ipecac or hydrogen peroxide by mouth to prompt emesis (vomiting). Afterward, activated charcoal will be given to absorb any toxins still in your dog’s system.
Detoxification includes performing a gastric lavage to rinse away any plant particles in the stomach that have not been digested. Once that is done, the veterinarian will give your dog fluid therapy intravenously to flush the kidneys and prevent dehydration.
If your dog is having seizures, phenobarbital or diazepam may be added to the IV. Also, muscle relaxants and stomach protectants will help ease the gastric distress.
The veterinarian will want to keep your dog overnight for observation and to give supportive care when needed. If your dog is having any serious side effects, the veterinarian may recommend a 48-hour stay for observation.
Recovery of Mum Poisoning in Dogs
The prognosis for a quick recovery is good. The toxins do not stay long in the body; effects that were present should dissipate within 24 hours. When you bring your pet home, you will need to provide a quiet and safe place to rest. The veterinarian may recommend a special diet for your dog for the next several days as well. Be sure your pet has plenty of water and watch for any complications.