What is Parsley Poisoning?
Home cooking for pets is becoming increasingly popular. While there are some excellent recipes and diets out there, you have to use caution when selecting ingredients; they are not all the same. Parsley is one of these ingredients that may seem harmless but it can actually lead to symptoms of toxicity in your dog. Cymopterus watsonii is a type of parsley that can cause skin problems in your dog if ingested. If your dog did consume this parsley, he may need supportive care but overall should recover well. Also, be mindful this parsley grows outside on its own in nature so accidental ingestion by curious dogs can also occur.
Parsley, while safe for human consumption, is not always the best thing for your dog. Before you add spices or greens to your dog’s food always check its safety first. If your dog ingested some parsley purposefully or accidentally and is now acting odd, contact your veterinarian.
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Symptoms of Parsley Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of parsley poisoning may vary from case to case. Symptoms may include:
- Exudative dermatitis
- Ulcerative dermatitis
- Ocular toxicity
Parsley, also known as spring parsley, belongs to the Apiaceae family with the scientific name of Cymopterus watsonii. The spring parsley is a member of the carrot family, grows 8 to 12 centimeters tall and can have small white/cream colored flowers in umbrella-like clusters. It grows well on multiple types of soil and different elevations. It blooms in late April until June and is gone by early summer.
Causes of Parsley Poisoning in Dogs
Parsley contains what is known as furanocoumarins. This product’s potency enhances with ultraviolet radiation. Basically, if your dog ingests this plant and then stays outside in the sun, he is at a higher risk of developing a skin reaction similar to sunburn. Scientists believe plants produce toxins like this as a defense mechanism.
Diagnosis of Parsley Poisoning in Dogs
When you first arrive at the veterinarian’s office, she will begin by asking you numerous questions to try and collect a history. Discuss recent travel, health concerns, and instances of inappropriate eating or foraging (if any). 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 is experiencing any type of skin related reaction from the photosensitivity, a skin scraping sample may be collected. The veterinarian will scrape off a layer of your dog’s skin to view under the microscope. This will allow her to rule out other causes of skin irritation. If the skin has a more ulcerative appearance, a skin scraping will not be taken but it will be examined closely by the veterinarian.
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.
Treatment of Parsley Poisoning in Dogs
The symptoms your dog is experiencing will determine his course of treatment. If you know your dog ingested parsley or highly suspect it, the veterinarian may induce vomiting. This will empty your dog’s stomach of any remaining pieces before the body absorbs it. If too much time has passed since ingestion and induction of vomiting is unsuccessful, she may administer activated charcoal. This will bind and neutralize the toxins of the parsley before the body absorbs it and causes more skin irritation.
If your dog’s skin is reacting in any way, a medicinal ointment or cream may be prescribed to apply to the affected areas. This will help calm any irritation or itching he may be experiencing and will speed up the healing process. Also, if he is suffering some sort of photosensitivity, he will need to remain out of the sun as much as possible until the toxin has left his system.
Recovery of Parsley Poisoning in Dogs
Detoxification is key when recovering your dog from parsley poisoning. As soon as you suspect he ate parsley, take him to a veterinarian. If he receives medical attention in a timely manner, prognosis of a full recovery is good. If he ingested a large amount or if he does not receive medical care, his prognosis declines. His skin should mend in time but will need to remain indoors for a few days to weeks to ensure he has time to heal without complications.