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This plant is native to South America, Central America, and the West Indies. In North America, this plant can be found in and around homes as an ornamental plant. While it may be pretty to have in your home, if you have a dog you may want to reconsider having it within close proximity of your pet. If ingested by your dog, he can develop serious, life threatening symptoms of toxicity. He will need to receive veterinary treatment promptly if you want him to have any chance of a recovery.
Paraguayan jasmine is an evergreen plant that produces beautiful flowers and goes by many names. It is extremely toxic to your dog. If he ingests any amount of this plant, take him to a veterinarian immediately as he may develop poisoning symptoms such as muscle rigidity, dilated pupils, and urine retention.
If your dog ingests any of the Paraguayan jasmine, he may develop one or more of the following symptoms:
Paraguayan jasmine belongs to the Solanaceae family with the genus Brunfelsia. There are many species of this genus that are toxic to your dog so it is best to not have any of them near him. There are many common names the Paraguayan jasmine also goes by such as the yesterday, today, tomorrow plant, Franciscan rain tree, lady of the night, kiss me quick, and morning, noon, and night. This flower is native to South and Central America, and the West Indies. In the United States, this plant is grown as an ornamental and does best in the warmer coastal and southern regions due to the milder winters. This plant can range from 1.5 feet to 6 feet in height, is a compact, evergreen shrub, and produces flowers leaves and seeds. The flowers are found in colors of lavender, purple, and white.
Paraguayan jasmine contains the toxins brunfelsamidine, hopeanine, and scopoletin. Brunfelsamidine leads to the most common symptoms seen. It causes neuroexcitatory effects by inhibiting glycine receptors. This causes excess stimulation of the motor neurons leading to tremors and seizures. Hopeanine causes neurodepressant effects and lowers your dog’s seizure threshold. Scopoletin can cause decreased cardiac output.
When you first arrive at the veterinarian’s office, she will begin by asking you numerous questions to try and collect a history.
The veterinary caregiver will also ask you to think about anything new in his environment that may be causing his symptoms without you realizing it. While doing this, she will also perform a physical exam on your dog to collect his vitals and all of the symptoms he is suffering from.
If your dog vomits while he is at the clinic, the veterinarian will examine the regurgitated contents for clues as to what he ingested. If he is having diarrhea, a sample will be collected and diagnostics will be run to rule out other possible causes such as internal parasites or bacterial overgrowth.
Lab work will be run to collect information on how your dog is functioning internally. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will be run to give a baseline of how your dog’s organs are handling the toxin. These tests give a broad, overall look and will let the veterinarian know if further diagnostics need to be completed or not. She may also want to run a urinalysis for evaluation of kidney function. If dehydration is a concern, a packed cell volume (PCV) will be run to determine hydration status.
Your dog will be put on monitoring equipment to offer the veterinarian more information she can use to diagnose your dog. Oxygen saturation, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure will all be monitored to allow for proper readings of each. When she takes his vitals in the beginning, if she notices his heart rate is abnormal, she will put him on monitoring equipment. This will take a continuous reading of his heart rate. The veterinarian may want to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) so that she can see exactly which beat of the heart is having issues and therefore where the problem may be. In addition to this, she may want to take a radiograph to evaluate the size of your dog’s heart and check for other issues as well.
When the veterinarian takes a radiograph of the abdomen, this will also allow her to take a look at the bladder and kidneys to look for any suspicious abnormality. She will also take a radiograph of the lungs to look for a cause of the coughing. Many things can cause some of the toxicity symptoms your dog may experience. If you witnessed your dog eating a part of this plant, bring it with you to the veterinarian’s office for a quicker diagnosis.
The symptoms your dog is experiencing will determine his course of treatment. Decontamination of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract is imperative in cases of Paraguayan jasmine poisoning. If your dog has not vomited since the time of ingestion, the veterinarian may induce vomiting to rid his stomach of any remaining plant contents. If this is unsuccessful, she may administer activated charcoal to bind to the toxin in your dog’s system before the blood stream can absorb any more of it.
If he begins to seizure, she will administer an anti-seizure medication as needed for him to stop. If he is experiencing a slowed heart rate, she may administer a medication to increase the speed. If his heart rate gets too slow, his oxygen saturation will be low and his blood will not flow like it should, leading to other complications.
An antihistamine will be administered to help with the respiratory distress. Your canine companion may also be put on oxygen support to keep his oxygen levels up. Depending on his need, he will either receive oxygen via flow-by method or be placed in an oxygen cage. If this is unsuccessful or he is also going into shock, he will be intubated and kept on oxygen via intubation.
If dehydration is a concern from the vomiting and diarrhea, your dog will receive intravenous fluid therapies. This will correct any dehydration he is experiencing and prevent it from continuing. It will also help flush the toxin from his body system quicker than without it.
Paraguayan jasmine toxicity may be mild to life threatening. Detoxification is key when recovering your dog from Paraguayan jasmine. As soon as you suspect he may have ingested a portion of the plant, take him to a veterinarian. If he receives medical attention in a timely manner, prognosis of a full recovery is fair. Every dog reacts to the toxin differently. The sooner you seek veterinary care for your dog, the higher his chances of a full recovery.
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