What is Wax Leaf Poisoning?
The wax leaf plant can be found around the world as a sturdy, ornamental type of plant. Its qualities make it an ideal plant to form hedges and can be found in almost any type of environment. This plant produces terpenoid glycosides that can harm your dog if he ingests it. He may develop symptoms of gastrointestinal upset which can be mild, or may develop severe symptoms such as convulsions and change of heart function that can ultimately end in death. If your dog ingests any amount of the wax leaf, it needs to be treated as a medical emergency.
The wax leaf plant is a popular plant used in hedges and as an ornamental. If your dog ingests a piece of this plant, it can lead to symptoms of toxicity. Contact your local veterinarian if you suspect this is happening to your dog.
Book First Walk Free!
Symptoms of Wax Leaf Poisoning in Dogs
Your dog may develop any or all symptoms of wax leaf poisoning once he ingests it. Symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle weakness
- Increased heart rate
- Weak pulse
The wax leaf plant belongs to the Oleaceae family with the scientific name of Ligustrum japonicum. It is a type of hedge plant that is commonly found as a planted ornamental or hedge, or along bottomlands, fences, and abandoned places of residence. Only certain birds eat parts of this plant as part of their diet. This means there is no predation on the plant and therefore it flourishes almost untouched. Other common names the wax leaf plant is known by include privet, amur, and common privet.
Causes of Wax Leaf Poisoning in Dogs
The wax leaf plant contains what is known as terpenoid glycosides. This agent acts as a toxin once ingested by your dog and is the cause of all his poisoning symptoms. Terpenoid glycosides do have some beneficial properties in traditional medicine, but in its raw form ingested by your dog, it leads to signs of toxicity.
Diagnosis of Wax Leaf Poisoning in Dogs
When you first arrive at the veterinarian’s office, she will begin by collecting a history from you. Tell her everything your dog could have possibly come into contact with or ingested within the past 24 hours so as to give her a clue as to what is poisoning your dog. She will also perform a physical exam to check your dog’s vitals and note any abnormalities. This will also allow her a thorough look over your dog to evaluate all of his symptoms.
The veterinarian will want to perform blood work to give her needed information on how your dog’s internal organs are functioning. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel are usually the first tests to be run to give her a general diagnostic view of all the organs. She may also want to collect a urine sample for a urinalysis to check other levels of kidney function such as filtering ability and efficiency.
In addition to these tests, the veterinarian may want to take a radiograph of your dog’s abdomen to check for any abnormality of an internal organ, especially if he is experiencing abdominal pain.
Treatment of Wax Leaf Poisoning in Dogs
If your veterinarian suspects a toxin, she may administer activated charcoal. This will bind to the toxin and prevent the body from absorbing any more. It will also act as a protective layer for the gastrointestinal tract to prevent irritation and damage.
Your dog will be started on intravenous fluids to flush the toxin from his system quickly and safely. This will also flush fluids through your dog’s system continuously and will ensure his bladder and kidneys are forced to continue to work. Vitamins B and C may be given with the fluids to give the immune system an extra boost. An anti-emetic will be given to help with the nausea and vomiting and an anti-seizure medication will be administered to stop the convulsions.
If you suspect your dog ingested this plant but are unsure of what it is, take it with you to the veterinarian’s office. She or a member of her staff may know exactly what plant it is. This will allow the veterinarian to know what toxin she is dealing with then treating your dog. A quicker diagnosis means a quicker treatment plan put into place and started.
Recovery of Wax Leaf Poisoning in Dogs
Other than offering supportive therapies and medications, there isn’t much more the veterinarian can do for your dog in cases of wax leaf toxicity. Once ingested, you have to wait for it to leave your dog’s system and offer him support as he needs it.