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The ridderstjerne plants produce a unique and aesthetically pleasing flower which is why so many people have them. However, if you have a dog, you might want to reconsider before bringing this plant into your home. If he ingests a part of the ridderstjerne plant, he will develop symptoms of toxicity and will need veterinary care. Treatment will be determined by the symptoms your dog is suffering. They can be mild, such as gastrointestinal upset, or they can be severe, such as convulsions or heart abnormalities. Prognosis of a recovery can range from good to guarded depending on how the toxin affects your dog.
Ridderstjerne is a plant that produces a gorgeous flower; many people have it in their homes for this exact reason. However, what many of these people do not realize is that it is toxic to dogs if ingested. If you believe your dog ingested a part of this plant, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Symptoms of Ridderstjerne poisoning may vary from case to case. Symptoms may include:
Ridderstjerne belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family and to the genus Hippeastrum spp. This genus has about 90 true species and over 600 variations of hybrids. This plant, when cared for correctly, can live for 15 to 20 years. It is a somewhat delicate flower but thrives in the right environment. It does well in a cool place, indirect sunlight, and when rotated daily. The flower blooms in a variety of colors many times throughout its life span. Other common names the ridderstjerne goes by include fire lily, Barbados lily, lily of the palace and amaryllis.
Ridderstjerne is said to contain lycorine and other alkaloids that can be toxic to your dog. The highest concentration of the toxin is found in the plant bulb. When larger amounts are ingested, symptoms like convulsions and heart abnormalities are seen.
The veterinarian will start her diagnostic process with a physical examination. This will allow her to properly assess your dog and all of the symptoms he is experiencing. She will note if any vitals are abnormal and begin to address them.
If your dog vomits while at the clinic, she will examine the regurgitated contents for any clues as to what he ingested. Salivation typically indicates nausea so this is commonly seen in addition to the vomiting. If he is having diarrhea, she will collect a sample to rule out internal parasites or bacterial overgrowth, both of which can be possible causes of diarrhea.
If your dog is experiencing heart rate abnormalities, there are several things the veterinarian may want to do. First, she will hook him up to monitoring equipment so that she has a constant reading of the heart rate. Next, she may want to take radiographs to look for any abnormalities of the heart such as enlargement. From there, she may want to do an ultrasound for a different look at the heart. An ECG may also be conducted to give the veterinarian a view of which heart wave is misfiring.
The symptoms your dog is experiencing will determine his course of treatment. He will be started on intravenous fluid therapy with added electrolytes to help prevent and correct any degree of dehydration he may be experiencing from the diarrhea and vomiting. The fluids will also help to flush the toxin from his body quicker and the electrolytes will give his immune system the extra boost it needs. For the nausea, she may administer an antiemetic to combat this symptom.
If she believes your dog still has part of the plant still in his stomach, she may induce vomiting to get him to regurgitate the rest of it to rid it from his system. If this is unsuccessful, she may decide to administer activated charcoal to absorb and bind any remaining toxin in his system before his body does.
If your dog is experiencing tremors or convulsions, the veterinarian may administer an anti-seizure medication to hopefully stop them from occurring. There are also medications to correct for low blood pressure and any heart arrhythmia. Each of these will be administered on an as-needed basis as determined by your veterinarian based on your dog’s needs.
As soon as you notice your dog eating foliage he shouldn’t, be on high alert for development of toxicity symptoms. If you notice him acting strangely, get him to a veterinarian as soon as you can. If he ingested a small amount of ridderstjerne, his prognosis for recovery is fair to good. If he ingested a large amount and has developed convulsions and/or heart abnormalities, his prognosis of a full recovery declines.
The sooner you take your dog to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival. If you know you have this plant in or around your home, keep it at a height your dog cannot reach, even when standing on his hind legs. Prevention of toxicity is the best form of treatment you can offer your dog.
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