What is Poison Daisy Poisoning?
The poison daisy originates in Europe and Africa, but is also found in the United States and Australia. This daisy look alike is usually about two feet tall with one flower head on each stem. The flower is a yellow cone surrounded by white petals, just like a daisy. The leaves are slightly hairy and resemble fennel leaves.
Poison daisy toxicity is a mild to moderate condition caused by the consumption of any part of a poison daisy plant. This plant looks like a common daisy, but it has an extremely foul odor, which is why it is sometimes called the stinking chamomile plant. There are several poisonous substances in the poison daisy plant, such as bisabolol, chamazulene, tannic acid, and anthemic acid. These each have their own symptoms, but they are all generally similar, causing gastric irritation, dermatitis, neurological issues, and bleeding disorders. Another risk is that the poison daisy can cause an allergic reaction, which may trigger anaphylactic shock.
Symptoms of Poison Daisy Poisoning in Dogs
The side effects of poison daisy toxicity depend on the amount of the plant your pet ate. Symptoms seen most often are:
- Itchy and inflamed skin
- Painful red rash
- Red eyes
- Drooling more than normal
- Loss of appetite
- Breathing difficulty
- Abnormal bleeding (nosebleed)
- Slow clotting time
- Serious allergic reaction
The poison daisy’s botanical name is Anthemis cotula of the Asteraceae family. There are many other common names it is known by, some of which are:
- Dog daisy
- Barnyard daisy
- Wild chamomile
- Chigger weed
- Dog fennel
- Stinking chamomile
Causes of Poison Daisy Poisoning in Dogs
The toxic principles in the poison daisy are:
- Tannic acid – Can cause kidney and liver damage, dermatitis, and heart failure
- Chamazulene – A sesquiterpene lactone that is a neurotoxin and also produces dermatitis and stomach irritation
- Bisabolol - Linked to inflammation of the liver, weight loss, and gastric disturbances
- Anthemic acid – Known to irritate the intestinal and nervous systems
Diagnosis of Poison Daisy Poisoning in Dogs
It is a good idea to take a sample of the plant or a photograph with you to show the veterinarian because it can help with the diagnosis. You should also have your pet’s medical records and be sure to let the veterinarian know if you have given your dog any medications. This is very important because it can affect the diagnosis and the treatment plan. If you did not see your dog actually eating the poison daisy, she will want to rule out other illnesses before making a positive diagnosis.
The first step is the physical examination, which includes pulse, respiration rate, body temperature, age, height, weight, reflexes, blood pressure, and oxygen level. The veterinarian will also take a good look at your dog’s coat and skin condition to look for any abnormalities. A urine and stool sample will probably be taken at this time as well for microscopic evaluation. An endoscopy procedure is usually helpful in getting a look at your pet’s throat, esophagus, and upper airway. This is done with an endoscope while your dog is anesthetized. The veterinarian will be able to remove plant particles and any other foreign objects by inserting a tool through the endoscope.
In addition, your veterinarian will need to run some blood tests, such as a chemical array, complete blood count, liver enzyme panel, blood urea nitrogen, serum glucose level, and packed cell volume. Abdominal imaging is typically done with digital radiography (x-rays) and possibly an ultrasound if a more detailed look is needed. An MRI and CT scan may be necessary in some instances.
Treatment of Poison Daisy Poisoning in Dogs
Treating your pet for poison daisy toxicity depends on the test results and symptoms. In most cases, the treatment includes elimination, detoxification, medications, and observation.
Ridding the body of toxins is the first step of treatment. An emetic, such as peroxide or ipecac, will be given to precipitate emesis (vomiting). Activated charcoal is then given to absorb any poisons that have not been digested.
A gastric lavage to rinse away any leftover poisons and plant particles is done next. This will be followed by intravenous fluids to flush the renal system and rehydrate your dog.
For dermatitis, a corticosteroid cream is applied and cortisone will be added to the IV line. For vomiting, antiemetic medication may be given, and antacid for gastric irritation.
The veterinarian may recommend a night in the hospital to observe your dog and give any treatments necessary. If not, you will be able to go home when your dog is rehydrated and alert.
Recovery of Poison Daisy Poisoning in Dogs
The prognosis for poison daisy toxicity is generally very good as long as it is treated by a medical professional. Even if you cannot see your own veterinarian, you should take your dog to an animal clinic or hospital. Be sure to follow the directions on the prescriptions, if any, and call your veterinarian if you need more instructions.