What is Poppy Poisoning?
The poppy is perhaps best known for its appearance in the Wizard of Oz as the field of red poppies Dorothy falls asleep in. While this is just a movie, the symptoms of toxicity from poppies are very similar. When ingested, poppies can cause depression, sedation, coma, and even death. This flowering plant is not found in many places but is still extremely dangerous to anyone or anything that consumes it. If you believe your pet sampled the poppy or if you witnessed your dog chewing on or ingesting this plant, you need to alert your veterinarian and head to the clinic.
The poppy plant has a distinct red flower and is possibly one of the best known wildflowers. While the poppy may be aesthetically pleasing, it is toxic if ingested. If your dog eats this plant, you need to contact your veterinarian immediately for an evaluation of your pet’s health.
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Symptoms of Poppy Poisoning in Dogs
The onset of toxicity symptoms will vary depending on the amount your dog ingested. Symptoms of toxicity include
- Pinpoint pupils
- Respiratory depression
- Slowed heart rate
If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.
The poppy plant belongs to the genus Papaver. Plants in this genus have a widespread, bowl shaped flower that comes in many colors. The poppy is most commonly recognized when seen in the red hue. There are numerous species of poppy, all of which are toxic to your dog if consumed.
Causes of Poppy Poisoning in Dogs
The poppy contains the alkaloids morphine and codeine. While these substances do have medical applications, detriment to the central nervous system occurs if given in excess. The seeds of the poppy plant are not considered toxic, but it would still be unwise to let your dog consume them.
Diagnosis of Poppy Poisoning in Dogs
Upon arrival, your veterinarian will start by conduct a physical exam on your dog. This will allow her to assess your dog’s symptoms and vitals. Laboratory work will be performed to evaluate how the body is metabolizing the toxin. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide a baseline of how the internal organs are functioning. A packed cell volume (PCV) may be performed to assess hydration status. A urinalysis will be done to assess kidney function.
If the heart is experiencing abnormalities, the veterinarian may decide to take radiographs, an EGC or perform an ultrasound. Each of these methods will provide her with different information on your dog’s condition as well as determine the effect on his heart.
Treatment of Poppy Poisoning in Dogs
The veterinarian may induce vomiting in your dog to rid him of any remaining poppy pieces in his stomach. If this is unsuccessful, she may administer activated charcoal to bind to the remaining toxin before it can be absorbed by the blood stream.
If your dog is experiencing breathing difficulties, your veterinarian may start your dog on oxygen via flow-by or place him in an oxygen cage. If your pet is experiencing severe difficulties and swelling, the veterinarian may have to intubate him and maintain oxygen administration via intubation until he stabilizes.
If your dog is experiencing lethargy, depression, dilated pupils, or anything else related to mood, keeping him in a quiet, dark place will help keep him calm until the toxic effects wear off. He may be put on fluids to flush the toxin from his system efficiently and effectively, and to shorten recovery time.
If your dog is experiencing heart problems, he will be put on monitoring equipment. This will provide the veterinarian with a constant display of his vitals, including his pulse, and will allow for quick intervention if his heart rate were to suddenly drop. If necessary, the veterinarian will administer additional medications to prevent further complications.
Recovery of Poppy Poisoning in Dogs
There are two main factors that will affect your dog’s recovery of poppy toxicity: the amount of poppy that was ingested and in what time frame he received veterinary care. If your dog only chewed on the foliage or ingested a small amount, prognosis for a full recovery is good. If your dog ingested a larger amount but you received veterinary care in a timely manner, prognosis may be good to fair. However, if your dog ingested a large amount or didn’t receive veterinary care at all, prognosis of a full recovery is guarded to poor.
Once all his laboratory work comes back normal, and he is acting like himself and has regained his appetite, your dog will be able to go home. The poppy is not found in many regions due to its potential for illegal uses. If you are out on a walk with your dog, steer clear of this plant if you come across it. Prevention is the best form of treatment.
Poppy Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My hound dog ate 6 poppy seed muffins the big ones from Costco.. She isn't showing any of the symptoms her gut is puffed up a bit.. I'm worried and not sure what to do.
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My dog go to Poppyseed cookies,not sure how many but there was a whole bag. He's not acting like his usual self,not moving,barking,we tried getting him to walk holding up chicken but still no movement. I'm not sure what to do should I take him to the vet?
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Puppy had a small amount of poppy seed cake contains around half a teaspoon of poppy seed. He is 6 months. Had quite a lot of mucus around poo. Before he pooped he was very sleepy and tired but, after poop he was happy and lively.One eye was red.
Ingestion of poppy seeds may cause some mild symptoms, but nothing serious if it was a small piece of cake; the mucus faeces may have been due to the irritation from other ingredients in the cake. The redness of the eye may or may not be connected, try applying an antibiotic eye ointment as directed on the tube to the eye to see if there is an improvement. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
My hound dog ate 6 poppy seed muffins the big ones from Costco. I'm not seeing any of the symptoms you have posted. I'm just worried about her. What do I do?
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