What is Water Flag Poisoning?
The water flag is similar to that of an iris flower and looks extremely similar. Both the iris and the water flag actually go by the same common names interchangeably. When ingested by your dog, it may cause gastrointestinal upset. Some dogs do well without veterinarian help but some recover better with the help of supportive therapies. Either way, most dogs recover very well without long term side effects.
The water flag belongs to the same family as the iris flower. If ingested by your dog, it can cause a toxic reaction. If you believe your dog ate a piece of the water flag plant, contact your veterinarian.
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Symptoms of Water Flag Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of water flag poisoning may develop quickly or over a few hours. Symptoms may include:
The water flag is considered a type of iris. It belongs to the Iridaceae family and the Iris species. Other common names this plant goes by include iris, snake lily, and flag. The water flag is a perennial plant that commonly grows along shore lines as it can grow in and out of water. The water flag can grow from under a foot to over 3 feet tall. An iris-like flower blooms at the top of the stems in a variety of colors.
Causes of Water Flag Poisoning in Dogs
Water flags contain the pentacyclic terpenoids zeorin, missourin, and missouriensin. These are natural occurring substances found in many plants and animals. Scientists believe plants create this substance as a defense mechanism. When ingested, it can cause gastrointestinal irritation leading many animals to not eat it.
Diagnosis of Water Flag Poisoning in Dogs
Since many diseases and illnesses also include the symptoms seen with water flag poisoning, an exact diagnosis can be a challenge. If your dog vomits while at the veterinary clinic, the veterinarian will look at the contents for clues as to what he ingested. If he his having diarrhea, she may want to take a fecal sample for diagnostic tests. With this, she will be able to rule out if your dog is suffering from an internal parasite or bacterial overgrowth.
Blood work will be performed to give the veterinarian an idea of what is going on internally and how his immune system is coping. It will let her know if he is in any sort of organ failure, what therapies he needs, and an overall look at his current health status. She may also perform a urinalysis to further evaluate his kidneys.
If your dog is hypersalivating, the veterinarian will take special care when examining his mouth. She will check for any damage to his mouth but it is not likely she will find anything. While it is not a common symptom, your dog may experience abdominal pain from all the gastrointestinal upset. If this occurs, your veterinarian may want to take a radiograph to check for any type of blockage or abnormality.
If you witnessed your dog ingesting this plant before his symptoms started, take it with you to the veterinarian’s office. Bringing the plant to the veterinarian’s will allow her to properly identify it as well as the toxin it contains.
Treatment of Water Flag Poisoning in Dogs
The symptoms your dog is experiencing will determine his course of treatment. For the nausea and vomiting, the veterinarian can give him an injection of medication that will stop these symptoms. This should also help him to stop hypersalivating since he will be feeling better and no longer feeling sick.
For the diarrhea, your veterinarian may give him a medication or may let it run its course until the toxin is out of his system. Once the toxin is out of his system, his bowel movements should return to normal. If not, further therapies may be needed.
Your dog will be put on fluid therapy almost immediately. The fluids will ensure your dog recovers from any possible degree of dehydration or to prevent it from occurring. The fluids will also be helpful by flushing the toxin out of your dog’s system quicker.
Recovery of Water Flag Poisoning in Dogs
Water flag toxicity may be considered mild, or moderate in some cases. If your dog already has a sensitive stomach and digestive tract, he may have a more extreme reaction than other dogs. If your dog is extremely healthy, he may still develop some symptoms, but not in a severe manner. The best thing you can do is not let your dog have access to this plant at all. It will prevent any sort of accidental toxicity from occurring in the first place.
Most dogs recover without a problem with very little to almost no supportive therapies. Once the toxin passes through his system, he should return to his healthy self within a few hours to days.