What is Water Hyacinth Poisoning?
The water hyacinth is a very unique water plant that blooms with large leaves and violet-like flowers. It floats on the top of water bodies containing fresh water and can take over the surface of the entire body of water very quickly. If your dog ingests this plant, he may develop symptoms like vomiting and anorexia. These may sound mild, but depending on your dog’s health status, age, and how long his symptoms have been occurring, they may actually be extremely severe. In most cases, dogs recovery very well with supportive therapies from the veterinarian.
The water hyacinth is an invasive, freshwater plant that is toxic to your dog if he ingests it. If you believe your dog ingested a part of this plant, contact your veterinarian.
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Symptoms of Water Hyacinth Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of water hyacinth toxicity in dogs may include:
- Possibly diarrhea
The water hyacinth belongs to the Pontederiaceae family with the scientific name of Eichhornia crassipes. This plant is commonly found in water gardens due to its aesthetically pleasing look and large floating leaves. The water hyacinth is not the same as the normal hyacinth plant. The water hyacinth is native to South America and is considered an invasive plant in North America. It is a floating plant with round/oval green leaves with a flower that blooms in a blue-violet or lilac color. These plants grow and reproduce quickly making them a pest and potential problem for waterfront areas. It is such an issue, the water hyacinth is known as the worst aquatic plant.
Causes of Water Hyacinth Poisoning in Dogs
The toxic principle within the water hyacinth is unknown. Not much is known about it beneficial uses. The water hyacinth does not provide any sort of nutritional value to any animal species. When ingested by your dog, it typically causes loss of appetite and vomiting. Other symptoms may manifest, but this could be as a result of the original symptoms, not from toxin from the water hyacinth plant itself.
Diagnosis of Water Hyacinth Poisoning in Dogs
Since ingestion of water hyacinth only causes the vaguest of symptoms, diagnosis of a proper cause may be difficult. The veterinarian will begin with a physical exam to check your dog’s vitals and note all of his symptoms. She will also collect a thorough history from you to see what he may have had access to prior to developing symptoms.
If the veterinarian suspects his symptoms may be from something he ate, she may take a radiograph to look for any evidence of an odd substance in his stomach. If your dog is vomiting, she will carefully examine the contents for any clues. If he is not vomiting, she may induce it to rid his stomach of any remaining contents.
If your dog is experiencing diarrhea, she will collect a fecal sample and check it for internal parasites or bacterial overgrowth. She will likely run other diagnostic tests via blood work to check for other possible causes or issues. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will cover a large panel of values and if it comes back abnormal, she will have a better idea of what is going on internally and what medications or therapies need to be started.
Treatment of Water Hyacinth Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog comes into the clinic and is lethargic, dehydrated, or both, the veterinarian will start him on fluids with added electrolytes. This will get fluids into him since he isn’t drinking enough on his own. The electrolytes will give him the extra boost he needs and will increase his recovery time.
If your dog is vomiting and cannot keep anything down, the veterinarian may give him an injection of an antiemetic medication to get it to stop. This will allow him to keep down food and water and as a result, he will start eating again. She may also decide to give him an appetite stimulant is he still isn’t very interested in food. Once he is eating and able to keep it down, the anorexia will no longer be an issue. The veterinarian may decide to offer your dog other medications or therapies according to his needs.
Recovery of Water Hyacinth Poisoning in Dogs
Water hyacinth toxicity may be considered mild to moderate; it all depends on the severity of your dog’s reaction. While there are only a few side effects listed, if your dog vomits continuously or does not eat for an extended period of time, secondary issues can arise. If your dog ingests this plant, get him to a veterinarian; most dogs recover well with the help of supportive therapies. However, if your dog had health issues prior to ingesting the water hyacinth, his recovery period may be prolonged and he may need more veterinary care than the average patient.
Since the water hyacinth is an aquatic plant, it is only found in lakes, ponds, tanks, water gardens, etc., ingestion does not happen all that often. If your dog is playing in or near water that contains plants, do not let him eat the vegetation. If you know you have a water source on your property with this plant in it, consider removing it for the safety of your dog. Prevention of water hyacinth poisoning is the best sort of treatment you can provide for him.