Wandering Jew Poisoning in Dogs

Wandering Jew Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
4 Veterinary Answers

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Wandering Jew Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

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What is Wandering Jew Poisoning?

The  wandering jew is native to a few regions, but is considered invasive in most. It takes over native vegetation very quickly and kills everything out so that it may thrive. While this alone can be frustrating, it is also toxic to your dog. There have not been any reported cases of toxicity from ingestion, but toxicity from coming into contact with the plant. In most cases, dogs will develop contact dermatitis and possibly a secondary infection if not treated properly. Treatment is as simple as oral or topical medication making recovery from toxicity of this plant easy for you and your dog.

The  wandering jew is an invasive weed excellent at smothering other plants in the area and taking over. In addition to this unfortunate quality, it is also toxic to your dog. If you believe your dog came into contact with this plant, contact your veterinarian.

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Wandering Jew Poisoning Average Cost

From 534 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

Symptoms of Wandering Jew Poisoning in Dogs

Symptoms may vary from case to case. Also, onset of symptoms may also vary. Symptoms may include:

  • Redness of the feet and in between the toes
  • Redness of the muzzle 
  • Palmar ulceration
  • Redness around the eyes
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Itching of the skin
  • Loss of fur
  • Secondary infection 

Types

The  wandering jew is an invasive weed that causes dermatologic irritation when it comes into contact with your dog. This plant belongs to the Commelinaceae family and the genus Tradescantia. The species can be found spelled one of two ways: Tradescantia flumeninsis or Tradescantia fluminensis. It can also be known by the common names of Variegated  wandering jew and Speedy Henry. This plant spreads very quickly and smothers other native plants in the area. It is considered a plant pest in some regions making it unavailable to purchase or distribute.

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Causes of Wandering Jew Poisoning in Dogs

The exact name of the irritant from the  wandering jew plant is unknown. Scientists just know it causes allergic dermatitis in dogs as well as other species when they walk through the plant. Symptoms appear in accidental contact cases as well as when applied on purpose for scientific studies. The  wandering jew does not necessarily cause a toxic like reaction in dogs, but more of an allergic reaction. There have been no reported cases of ingestion of this plant by a dog, but it can be assumed if it is ingested, he may develop redness, itching, and irritation of the mouth as well.

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Diagnosis of Wandering Jew Poisoning in Dogs

If you notice your dog’s skin is red or if he is experiencing a lot of scratching or fur loss, take him to the veterinarian. Upon arrival, the veterinarian will begin by performing a physical exam. She will make note of any and all of his symptoms and evaluate his vitals for any abnormalities. 

She may then proceed to take a skin scraping sample from your dog. She will take a scalpel blade and scrape off a thin layer of your dog’s skin to view under the microscope. This will allow her to check for external parasites or bacterial overgrowth, both of which can also cause the dermatologic symptoms. 

The veterinarian may want to do blood work for diagnostics. When a certain white blood cell level (eosinophil level) is elevated, it is indicative of an allergy. By running a complete blood count (CBC), she will get the needed information to see if this is occurring. She may also decide to run a chemistry panel for a basic overview of your pet as a whole to check how his internal organs are functioning, especially if she suspects a toxin is the cause of his symptoms. 

When discussing your dog’s symptoms with the veterinarian, be sure to mention any and all details of what he was doing before his symptoms appeared. For example, if you were out on a walk, tell her; if he was romping around a field with unknown vegetation, tell her. While it may seem like an unimportant detail to you, it may be the key to the proper diagnosis.

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Treatment of Wandering Jew Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog is experiencing a lot of scratching, the veterinarian will prescribe an ointment or tablets as relief. You may need to apply an ointment  two to three times a day, but it has been proven to help. If your dog scratches continuously, he may develop a secondary infection of the skin and will then need antibiotics as well. A buster collar can limit self trauma, as can clipping claws short.

The veterinarian may decide to administer intravenous or subcutaneous fluids to your dog depending on his need. This is more likely if his mouth has been affected and he is not keen to eat or drink. The fluids will ensure he stays hydrated while waiting for his symptoms to subside. If any irritation of the eyes occurs, she may rinse out his eyes or prescribe an ointment or drops for you to apply at home for a few days.

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Recovery of Wandering Jew Poisoning in Dogs

If your dog is scratching excessively and has some sort of skin irritation or rash, go ahead and take him to the veterinarian. If you are able to stop the scratching before it turns into a skin infection, he will heal much quicker and with the least amount of medications possible.

Toxicity of the  wandering jew may be considered mild. Since toxicity symptoms typically manifest as some form of dermatitis, dogs usually recover well with supportive therapies. If you know you have this plant on your property or know it is located nearby, trying to keep your dog away from it is the best thing for him. If desired, you can remove this plant from your property once you notice it; the sooner the better, since it grows extremely fast.

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Wandering Jew Poisoning Average Cost

From 534 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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Wandering Jew Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Ask a Vet

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Yorkshire Terrier

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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5 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea And Vomiting

Our little Yorker ate some leaves off a wondering Jew and has been very sick. She has vomited, has diarrhea and hot. She ate them two days ago.

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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5 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I'm sorry that your little dog is sick. That plant can cause GI upset, and it sounds like she is suffering from that. If she continues to vomit or have diarrhea, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to examine her and give her medication to help stop the vomiting and diarrhea so that she feels better again. I hope that all goes well for her and she is better soon.

Oct. 1, 2020

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Cairo

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Belgian shepherd Malinois

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Seven Years

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Moderate severity

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4 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Itchiness

We have a small patch of Wandering Jew at the bottom of our very steep backyard. My 7 yr old Belgian Malinois loves to sleep here because it is so cool. He demostrates itchiness of his underbody and legs but shows no other symptoms. We have tidied up the Wandering Jew(yesterday) but are wondering if this is a reaction to the plant or something else? He has Nexguard at the beginning of every month.

Jan. 4, 2018

Cairo's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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4 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Dermatitis is a fairly common reaction to Wandering Jew, so it is quite possible that Cairo is reacting to that plant, or others that might be there, yes. Since I can't examine him, it would be a good idea to have him examined by your veterinarian to make sure that he doesn't need treatment, and that the itchiness is not a sign of something else. I hope that everything goes well with him!

Jan. 4, 2018

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Wandering Jew Poisoning Average Cost

From 534 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$400

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