Oleander Poisoning in Dogs

Oleander Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Diarrhea / Head Tilt / Lethargy / Seizures / Vomiting

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Rated as moderate conditon

8 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Anemia / Diarrhea / Head Tilt / Lethargy / Seizures / Vomiting

Oleander Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Oleander Poisoning?

The oleander plant blooms through the summer into the fall season and is found along roadsides in the southern states, as well as the west coast of the United States. This plant can grow to heights over 6 feet tall and withstand dry conditions and wind. Also grown as a decorative plant for summer gardens in other parts of North America, the oleander is highly toxic and pets must be monitored at all times when in proximity of the tree.

Ingestion of any part of the oleander plant can lead to dire consequences for both humans and animals. The roots and stems contain the most toxins. The leaves and flowers are highly toxic as well, as are the seeds, fruit, nectar, and sap. Even standing water that may have had oleander leaves floating in it will have a poisonous component. The record of the death of a horse who ingested between 10 to 20 leaves proves that this plant can be lethal. Documentation states that most cases of poisoning are related to the leaves.

Signs of poisoning will include increased heart rate and diarrhea. Immediate veterinary care is essential to saving the life of canines who ingest the oleander; if you suspect this may have happened, consider it an emergency situation.

The oleander plant, scientifically known as Nerium oleander, can be deadly to humans and animals who ingest any part of the plant. Cardiac glycosides are present in the plant which affect the gastrointestinal, neurologic and cardiovascular systems severely enough that death is possible with even a small consumption of the plant.

Symptoms of Oleander Poisoning in Dogs

Signs of oleander poisoning can be evident within an hour of your pet ingesting the plant. Do not wait for symptoms to appear because aggressive medical therapy is needed in this case. 

  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Lack of coordination
  • Inability to rise
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Cardiovascular dysrhythmias including fibrillation (quivering of the heart)
  • Collapse
  • Death

Types

The oleander found in North America is the Nerium oleander, which is the most familiar  of the species seen along roadsides or in gardens. There are many different colors of this member of Apocynaceae family, depending on the variety. The second most common type is the Thevetia peruviana, found in Mexico and Central America.

Causes of Oleander Poisoning in Dogs

  • The main identified toxin is the cardiac glycoside oleandrin, which is similar to digitoxin (used in the treatment of heart failure)
  • Researchers believe there are 30 types of cardiac glycosides in the oleander 
  • Oleandrin is present in all parts of the plant whether fresh or dried
  • Cardiovascular, neurologic, and gastrointestinal systems are affected
  • The stomach can become inflamed
  • The electrical conduction of the heart is disturbed
  • The pulse is affected
  • Hyperkalemia (higher than normal potassium in the blood) can occur which affects the heart muscle, nerve cells, and muscle cells

Diagnosis of Oleander Poisoning in Dogs

If you suspect your pet has ingested some of your oleander tree or you witnessed him doing so, you must treat it as an emergency situation and call your veterinarian to let him know you are on the way. An emergency clinic is also a wise option. Even if you believe that your dog may have eaten only a leaf or two, pets can react to a minimal amount of the plant. The toxicity can also depend on your pet’s size and present state of health.

If you are able to provide the time of the event, the approximate amount of ingestion, and the identification of the parts of the plant that were eaten, this will be of great help to the veterinary team. If possible, bring along a part of the plant.

Contingent on the condition of your dog when he arrives at the clinic, the veterinarian will do a physical examination including abdominal palpation, observance of mucus membranes and checking of pulse rate. There is no specific test for oleander poisoning and the tests that can point to this toxicity are not always time sensitive when results are needed in a hurry.

Blood tests can be indicative to the poisoning in that the presence of hyperkalemia  will be seen in the results. Other helpful markers will be glucose, BUN, and creatinine. An electrocardiogram can be done to verify abnormalities within the heart such as dysrhythmias.

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Treatment of Oleander Poisoning in Dogs

Most dogs who ingest the oleander plant will be hospitalized. If your pet is not vomiting already, the veterinarian will induce emesis. Active charcoal will then be given to your dog in an attempt to bind the poison for elimination. More than one administration is often necessary. 

Your dog’s heart will continue to be monitored, and this is sometimes needed for up to 24 hours. Intravenous therapy will be indicated because this method of medical aid can allow the veterinarian to give your dog drugs like antiemetics, gastroprotectants and medications to help improve the condition of the heart. Severely affected canines may need a temporary pacemaker if the heart is not responding to drug therapy.

Recovery of Oleander Poisoning in Dogs

Canines who have received timely, aggressive care in a hospital setting can recover from oleander poisoning. Regaining strength and the return to full health may take time as your pet has been through a significant event. Provide a quiet restful place for him to recover. The veterinary team will advise you on any dietary recommendations there may be for the next few days or weeks. The veterinarian may want to schedule a follow-up appointment within a couple of days in order to verify that your dog is recovering fully. If you have questions or concerns as you monitor him at home, call the clinic without delay. For the future, remove access to the oleander tree. Keep your pet on a leash in areas near your home where the oleander may grow. If you plan to add new greenery to your garden space, research the plant well before making the purchase.

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Oleander Poisoning Average Cost

From 419 quotes ranging from $600 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,500

Oleander Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Bella

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pitbull

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5months

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Darting Head Movements,

This is an update for Bella from an hour ago. She drinks water and is still hyper which is normal for her, she will also eat if she likes what you give her, right now she is chewing on ice cubes which she loves.so am not sure if oleander effect their drinking and eating habits? She seems to be doing a little better, tho is still darts her head back and forth just a little bit and holds her ears back.

Nov. 16, 2017

Bella's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

The whole bush of oleander is considered toxic, if you believe that Bella has consumed any part of the bush you should get her to your Veterinarian immediately since the bush contains cardiac glycosides which can cause an abnormal heart rhythm and other anomalies. If you don’t know how long it was since it was consumed, inducing vomiting may be fruitless. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/oleander/ http://veterinaryteam.dvm360.com/dangerous-beauty-oleander-toxicosis-dogs-horses-and-more

Nov. 16, 2017

I think my 3 month old part Pitbull and Lab ate some of a root,He was fine but last night he was throwing up wouldn't eat,All day today he layed around then we thought of everything that it could be maybe bite by a snake then he remembered he brought a root of one in the house,I gave him some Nutri-stat paste he had a seizure then 10mins later as we was taking him to a vet,He started playing and running around like nothing never happen. Wonder if it was the paste that hepled

April 17, 2018

Shawna B.

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Bella

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Pit bull

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5 months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

We have an oleander bush in the yard, the puppy, Belly, chews on everything! Came home from work and she is acting strange. Up down acts like she is afraid almost, she doesn't know what to do with herself. She will try to lay close to the floor looking back and forth. Eyes are dilated. I feels so bad for her, not sure if she has thrown up yet. I am home from work just for lunch. She acts like she is confused. Please does this sound like she ate oleander?

Nov. 16, 2017

Bella's Owner


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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

The whole bush of oleander is considered toxic, if you believe that Bella has consumed any part of the bush you should get her to your Veterinarian immediately since the bush contains cardiac glycosides which can cause an abnormal heart rhythm and other anomalies. If you don’t know how long it was since it was consumed, inducing vomiting may be fruitless. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/oleander/ http://veterinaryteam.dvm360.com/dangerous-beauty-oleander-toxicosis-dogs-horses-and-more

Nov. 16, 2017

PLEASE rush her to your vet.

Nov. 16, 2017

Brenda Y.

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Macha

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Pit Boxer mix

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4.5

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Diarrhea

My almost 5 year old boxer pit mix seemed to get ahold of a leaf I believe was from my neighbors oleander. She has already vomited and she did have diahrea only once and I'm not sure when she actually ingested it but it's been more than 5 hours . She is just relaxing now and her heart rate does not seem bad nor are her eyes dilated. She doesn't want to eat her dinner but is breathing normal. There are no vets open right now and I'm not sure if I need to be as concerned as I am or not...

July 26, 2017

Macha's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

It is good that Macha has vomited since ingesting the leaf; the leaves of oleander have varying levels of cardiac glycosides and may or may not be serious. Diarrhoea and vomiting are normal responses to ingestion of foreign material; I would keep a close eye on Macha, but if you notice any heart rate disturbances or you have any concerns visit a Veterinarian as soon as they open; alternatively if you have more in depth questions you may call the Pet Poison Helpline. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVMwww.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/oleander/

July 26, 2017

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Padme

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German Shepherd

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9 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Rapid Heartbeat
Loss Of Appetite
Drained

No stregnth, diarrhea, loss of appetite, I do have oleanders in my yard. I've lived there 5 years and she's never touched them. It has been 100+ degrees outside. What is happening to her? She looks drained. She's starting to drink water, but still won't touch food. It's been two days.

July 26, 2017

Padme's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

It may be oleander poisoning or may be severe dehydration (caused by heatstroke or from diarrhoea); firstly check Padme’s capillary refill time by pressing the gum with your finger until it turns white then let go, if it takes three seconds or more to turn pink, dehydration is likely. I would recommend visiting your Veterinarian for a quick examination (and fluids if needed) as there are other conditions which may cause these symptoms. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

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Daisy

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Boston Terrier

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8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Normal

My Boston Terrier puppy was carrying an oleander leaf in her mouth this morning. It did not look like she bite into the leaf or had swallowed any part of it and she is behaving normally. Should we still be concerned? Do dogs need to actually eat the plant to get sick or is just coming in contact with it dangerous as well?

July 26, 2017

Daisy's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Ingestion of the plant is required for symptoms to present, although ingestion of the sap can cause severe life threatening symptoms. I would recommend visiting your Veterinarian to be on the side side; but as a minimum induce vomiting with 3% hydrogen peroxide and then administer activated charcoal, if the vomit contains plant material visit your Veterinarian immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

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Maggie

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Saint Bernard

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7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy
Lethargy, Diareaha,Weakness

My 7 yr old St. Bernard loves to lay under the Oleanders. I knew they were poisonous to humans but didn't know to dogs.She had a severe bout of diahrea,lethargy weight loss. Her bilirubin was off the charts but her red and white bc were good. Do you think she had oleander poisoning?

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Bear

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Labrador Retriever

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16 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

Caught my dog with oleander stick in mouth. He wasn't chewing it he was just dragging it away. He did drop it when I yelled and he immediately didn't like the taste. I flushed his mouth out with water. Should I be concerned? He is acting fine.

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Dixie

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Dachshund

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Confusion

Just bought a new home recently and this morning when I got up my Dachshund didn’t want to eat breakfast and wouldn’t get out of bed, so when I picked her up to get her off the bed she started crying I put her down and she just made circles trying to lay down but was obviously very uncomfortable she then hid herself between the couch and wall?? I’ve never seen her act like this ever!! I got her out and her whole body was trembling, eyes dialated and completely out of it. She seemed to not have any coordination and was acting really confused.. I called the vet and got her right in but they couldn’t diagnose anything other than a really tender stomach. So with pain meds and anti inflammatory meds we are home resting. I hope everything starts looking up and those dumb bushes are GONE!! My poor girl

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Finn

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Shepherd mix

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8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting, Bloody Stool, Lethargy

Just yesterday I had my dog in the emergency vet for vomiting, bloody stool, lethargy and loss of appetite. The vet asked about oleander, but I am new to the southwest and did not know that was what grows in my neighbor's yard. The branches overhang and all parts of the tree make their way into our yard. Puppy of course loves to chew on sticks. I had NO idea that it could be so toxic. She did not present with any increased heart rate or disorientation. First step is that I will definitely address this with the neighbors. They have dogs, as well. My concern is what are the lasting effects of minor ingestion of the toxins over time? We have had her for three months, and this was the first time she has had any issues.

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Muddy

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Carin terrier mix

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Squinting, Excreting Goo

We have orleanders all around our yard (just bought the property one year ago) Our dog will eat grass but he’s not interested in eating any plants. However he rubs up against the Orleanders and pushes through the branches to get a nice back scratch... from the low hanging limbs... Now he has something wrong with one eye. It’s gooey and he’s squinting & blinking shut .. I went to Petsmart & bought an eye flush solution. It doesn’t have antibiotics in it however . We suspect he was poked in the eye by the Orleander branch?? But ..We don’t know how he injured his eye. If it was the Orleander that hurt his eye I’d he doomed for blindness or what???

Oleander Poisoning Average Cost

From 419 quotes ranging from $600 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,500

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