What is Snake Plant Poisoning?
People often like to bring plants into their homes and offices as a source of green to brighten up the space. The snake plant is one these plants, commonly found inside due to its natural colorful appearance and clean shape. While it may be nice to have inside, if you have a dog who decides to ingest a piece of it, he can develop symptoms of toxicity. Most symptoms can be considered mild and related to gastrointestinal upset. These symptoms are relatively easy to treat. A more serious side effect involves rupture of red blood cells which requires more intensive treatment. If you seek veterinary care as soon as possible, his prognosis of a recovery is good.
The snake plant has green and yellow leaves and can be found indoors and outdoors as a nice decorative plant. If your dog ingests a piece of this plant, he may develop symptoms of poisoning. If this happens, contact your veterinarian.
Symptoms of Snake Plant Poisoning in Dogs
Onset of toxicity symptoms will vary depending on the amount your dog ingested. Symptoms include:
- Ruptured red blood cells
While some symptoms are considered mild, you should seek veterinary care for your dog if he develops any of these.
The scientific name for the snake plant is Sansevieria spp. and goes by the other common names of good luck plant, golden bird’s nest, and mother in law’s tongue. This plant has long lashing shape leaves consisting primarily of greens and yellows. The snake plant is commonly found indoors in offices, homes, and businesses as a decorative plant.
Causes of Snake Plant Poisoning in Dogs
The snake plant produces saponins, a toxin that can lead to a variety of side effects if ingested by your dog. The rupture of red blood cells comes from severe gastrointestinal related activity of the toxin. Saponins have a foaming action which leads to the gastrointestinal upset. They also disrupt normal cell pathway causing cell death.
Diagnosis of Snake Plant Poisoning in Dogs
When you arrive at the veterinarian’s office, she veterinarian will begin by performing a physical exam on your dog. This will allow her to assess his symptoms and note any abnormalities of his vitals as soon as possible. If your dog vomits while at the clinic, the veterinarian will examine the contents for any evidence as to what he ingested. If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, a fecal sample may be taken and tests performed to rule out other possible causes. Excessive intestinal bacteria and internal parasites are two examples of what your veterinarian will want to rule out.
Blood work will be performed to give the veterinarian a look as to how the internal organs are functioning or if there are complications developing. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with needed information for proper assessment. A packed cell volume (PCV) may also be performed to determine hydration status. If your veterinarian feels it is necessary, she may also perform a urinalysis for further evaluation of kidney function.
The toxins that are affecting your dog can be identified by the veterinarian. Be sure to bring a portion of the plant with you when you go to the clinic.
Treatment of Snake Plant Poisoning in Dogs
The symptoms of snake plant toxicity your dog is experiencing will determine his course of treatment. If your dog is not vomiting or has not vomited at all since he ingested the plant, the veterinarian may induce vomiting as an attempt to expel the stomach of any remaining plant pieces. She may also decide to administer activated charcoal to absorb the remainder of the toxin before the body absorbs it.
If your dog is vomiting and having diarrhea, fluid therapy with electrolytes will be started. Fluids will correct any dehydration your dog is experiencing and prevent it from worsening. This will also help to flush the toxin from the body as quickly and safely as possible.
Additional therapeutic medications will be administered as the veterinarian sees fit. If your dog is vomiting uncontrollably, she may administer an antiemetic. If he is suffering gastrointestinal upset, medications to protect the lining of the stomach and intestine may be administered. Other therapies will be given in accordance to your dog’s symptoms.
Recovery of Snake Plant Poisoning in Dogs
Toxicity of snakes may be mild to moderate, depending on the amount your dog ingested. If a small amount was ingested or if he vomited what he did ingest, prognosis of a full recovery is good. If he ingested a large amount or if he did not receive veterinary care in a timely manner, his prognosis of a full recovery declines. Your veterinarian may suggest a bland diet for the next several days in order to give your pet’s stomach a chance to return to normal after the event.