What is Rose of Sharon Poisoning?
The plant known as the Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is an Asian flowering shrub also known as the rose of China, the rose mallow, and St. Joseph’s rod. It is a member of the Hibiscus family with appealing white, pink, or purple flowers, and although not all members of the Hibiscus family are toxic, the rose of Sharon variety is known to be moderately toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. The gastrointestinal distress that is caused by the consumption of this plant rarely lasts longer than 12 to 24 hours.
The rose of Sharon is an Asian flowering shrub with large trumpet-shaped white, pink, or purple flowers that can be mildly toxic to your pet.
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Symptoms of Rose of Sharon Poisoning in Dogs
The symptoms of toxicity from the rose of Sharon shrub are very similar to poisonings by other plants. Although the overall outcome of poisonings by the rose of Sharon plant are generally good, other dangerous poisons can cause the same symptoms, so it is important to accurately identify the plant that your pet has sampled. If you are uncertain of the source of your dog’s distress, it is important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Symptoms of poisoning include:
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of appetite
This plant should not be confused with St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), which is occasionally referred to as rose of Sharon. St. John’s wort has small five-petaled yellow flowers rather than the larger white, pink, or purple flowers of the Hibiscus syriacus. St. John’s wort is often used to safely and naturally alleviate anxiety when given in appropriate doses, as determined by your veterinarian. St. John’s wort also has the capability to become phototoxic in large doses, and over extended periods of time can cause increased blood pressure, agitation, and drowsiness. It is imperative that your veterinarian is aware of any use of St. John’s wort due to its tendency to increase the body’s response to certain medications such as antidepressants and sedatives, as well as its propensity to decrease the effectiveness of other medicines.
Causes of Rose of Sharon Poisoning in Dogs
The unknown toxin in the rose of Sharon plant appears to be most active in cats, dogs, and horses. Unlike most toxic or noxious plants, the rose of Sharon flower tastes rather pleasant to many dogs, and it may be tempting for your canine to ingest significant quantities of this plant.
Diagnosis of Rose of Sharon Poisoning in Dogs
As the rose of Sharon shrub is only moderately noxious, symptoms and signs that are more critical than vomiting or diarrhea usually indicate that the plant or toxin was misidentified or that a secondary disorder is actually to blame. If vomiting has lasted for longer than twelve hours, if blood is present in the vomit or diarrhea, or if the ingestion of the plant was unwitnessed, a visit to the clinic may be recommended by your veterinarian based on the symptoms described. This type of poisoning has symptoms that could characterize any number of toxins and disorders, some of which can become much more perilous to your canine.
Your pet’s doctor will ask you questions regarding your pet’s health history, including information regarding supplements or prescriptions being given to your pet, as well as any possible opportunities for eating plants or other inappropriate substances. If your pet’s symptoms warrant a visit to the veterinary clinic, a urinalysis, biochemistry profile, and complete blood count will also be ordered at that time to uncover any toxins or chemical imbalances that may be present. As the toxic compounds from rose of Sharon are unknown, they cannot yet be detected in the blood. Any available stomach contents that have been expelled will also be evaluated to confirm the preliminary diagnosis as material from the rose of Sharon will often be detected in these contents.
Treatment of Rose of Sharon Poisoning in Dogs
Treatment for the consumption of the rose of Sharon can usually be handled at home with comparative ease, however it is imperative to contact your veterinarian before starting any sort of therapy both to determine if either the response to the toxin or the amount eaten necessitates a visit to their office, as well as to get specific instructions for your dog’s circumstances. Quite often the primary therapy for canines who show signs of gastric distress such as excessive or persistent vomiting or diarrhea is the deliberate withholding of food until both the vomiting and diarrhea have died down for approximately twelve hours. This treatment method provides a chance for the gastric muscles of the patient to recover from the incessant spasms that vomiting can sometimes cause. It is essential that water and crushed ice are offered in small amounts several times throughout this process in order to prevent dehydration.
When extreme vomiting or diarrhea become a concern, your veterinarian may request that you bring your pet into their clinic for supportive treatment. Circumstances that may prompt a visit include vomiting that doesn’t cease after 12 to 24 hours, blood in the vomit, and signs of dehydration. IV fluid therapy will be administered at the doctor’s office to prevent dehydration, and over the counter medications designed for humans, such as Imodium or Pepcid AC, may also be recommended for their gastroprotective properties.These drugs should never be administered to your canine without consulting a veterinary professional first, as the dosage amounts for humans and canines can be very different.
Recovery of Rose of Sharon Poisoning in Dogs
Animals who are particularly sensitive to the compounds in the plant, or who ingest unusually large quantities of the rose of Sharon may experience extreme nausea and vomiting. Profuse vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dangerous levels of dehydration. While your companion is showing signs of the toxin, it is crucial to monitor him carefully for evidence of dehydration. Symptoms such as sunken eyes, unexplained exhaustion, excessive panting, loss of elasticity in the skin, and wobbling or tremors when standing can denote that the canine is in serious distress and your veterinarian should be called immediately for further instructions.