What is Rock Moss Poisoning?
Rock moss is native to India and Persia, but is identified as a weed throughout other parts of the world. It is a succulent type of plant that produces small yellow flowers. Many people who have this plant in their garden cook it and eat it. However, this plant should never be offered to your dog. In dogs, rock moss leads to a metabolic imbalance and kidney failure. While a metabolic imbalance can be monitored and corrected, kidney failure cannot. If you believe your dog ingested any amount of the rock moss plant, get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If you do not, his prognosis guarded to poor.
If your dog ingests rock moss, you need to treat it as a medical emergency. Kidney failure can develop after ingestion of this plant; kidney failure cannot be cured. This will be a likely cause of death to your dog if you do not seek veterinary care for him immediately.
Symptoms of Rock Moss Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of rock moss poisoning may not be clearly evident. Symptoms may include:
- Metabolic imbalance
- Kidney failure
The rock moss plant is scientifically known by the name Portulaca oleracea. It belongs to the Portulacaceae family and has multiple common names it goes by other than rock moss. Other names include wild portulaca, moss rose, pigweed, purslane, and pusley. Rock moss is a green succulent type plant with yellow flowers. It is found across many regions and is a considered a weed to most farmers and is difficult to get rid of.
Causes of Rock Moss Poisoning in Dogs
Rock moss contains soluble calcium oxalates. This property is what makes it toxic to your dog. Soluble oxalates are composed of potassium and sodium salts of oxalic acid. Once ingested, the oxalates are quickly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract leading to symptoms of toxicity.
Diagnosis of Rock Moss Poisoning in Dogs
When you first arrive at the veterinarian’s office, she will begin by collecting a history from you. Tell her everything your dog could have possibly come into contact with in the past 24 hours so as to give her a clue as to what is poisoning your dog. She will also perform a physical exam to check your dog’s vitals and note any abnormalities. This will also allow her to take a thorough look over your dog to evaluate all of his symptoms.
The veterinarian will want to perform blood work to give her needed information on how your dog’s internal organs are functioning. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel are usually the first tests to be run; it will give the veterinarian a status check of your dog’s major blood filtering organs like the liver and kidney. Since kidney failure is a major concern with rock moss poisoning, she may want to run more detail diagnostic tests that evaluate the kidney on a deeper level. She may also want to collect some urine for a urinalysis to check other levels of kidney function.
In addition to these tests, the veterinarian may want to take a radiograph of your dog’s abdomen to check for any abnormality of an internal organ, especially the kidneys and remaining urinary system. If the radiograph is not helpful, she may want to do an ultrasound to have a different view of these organs. Sometimes an ultrasound can show things a radiograph cannot that will be helpful to her diagnostic process.
Treatment of Rock Moss Poisoning in Dogs
Your dog will be started on intravenous fluids to flush the toxin from his system quickly and safely. This will also flush fluids through your dog’s system continuously and will ensure his bladder and kidneys are forced to continue to work. Vitamins B and C may be given with the fluids to give the immune system an extra boost.
If your veterinarian suspects a toxin but is not sure, she may administer activated charcoal to bind to the toxin, to prevent the body from absorbing any more, and to act as a protective layer for the gastrointestinal tract.
Recovery of Rock Moss Poisoning in Dogs
Other than offering supportive therapies and medications, there isn’t much more the veterinarian can do for your dog. Once ingested, you have to wait for it to leave your dog’s system. If kidney failure develops, there is no way to correct it and it will ultimately be the cause of death for your dog.
The best thing you can do for your pet is to prevent ingestion of the rock moss altogether. Do not have this plant in or around your home. The risk to your dog can be great, especially if he likes to graze on greenery. While some sources say this is an edible plant, they are discussing how it is edible for people, not dogs. Do not offer your dog this plant if you eat it yourself. Best form of treatment in any and all toxicity cases is prevention.