What is Wild Coffee Poisoning?
A wild coffee plant is toxic due to its saponins and other irritating agents. If your dog were to consume the plant, there could be mild to severe skin and oral irritation. In fact, chewing the stems or leaves could make the throat and mouth swell up. Your dog could experience rash-like symptoms around the gum, lips, tongue and nose. If you notice any of these signs, or suspect that your dog may be poisoned after eating wild coffee foliage, stem or bark, a visit to the veterinarian is inevitable and recommended. A fast response is key. Take a few moments to gather information that your veterinarian might need, such as the actual plant and medical history for your pet.
A coffee tree is known for its saponins, which can be found in the foliage and the bark. These are poison to a dog if consumed by mouth.
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Symptoms of Wild Coffee Poisoning in Dogs
There are several symptoms related to wild coffee poisoning in dogs. Due to the strong irritating potential and high potency of wild coffee poisoning, the symptoms are varied. Some of them include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Pain and discomfort
- Excessive drooling
- Skin rash
- Inflamed oral mucosa
- Swollen mouth, throat and face
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty in breathing
- Gastrointestinal upset
The milder symptoms are skin rashes, redness, blisters and itching. You will possibly find your dog pawing at its mouth. This is one of the obvious signs to take your dog to the veterinarian.
Causes of Wild Coffee Poisoning in Dogs
The main cause of wild coffee poisoning is exposure to saponins from the bark and foliage of the coffee plant. This involves:
- Oral exposure
- Topical Exposure
Diagnosis of Wild Coffee Poisoning in Dogs
If symptoms are external, the veterinarian will have it easy in making a diagnosis. However, you still need to provide as much detail as possible about your dog’s medical history and details of what occurred. Be specific when giving details so that the veterinarian can make an accurate assessment and determination of the extent of your pet’s condition. Your veterinary specialist will need to determine how much of the poison was ingested in order to provide the best treatment. If your dog was able to vomit, then take along a sample in a zip lock bag. If not, then the veterinary specialist may induce vomiting to offer an accurate diagnosis. It will be necessary to do a physical examination and this may include:
- Blood pressure
- Skin condition
- Examining the eyes
- Abdominal palpation
- Oral examination
- Check for fever
- Fecal exam
Lab tests may be needed. These might include:
- Blood urea nitrogen
- Blood count
- Blood sugar level
- Packed cell volume
The dog’s heart activity will be monitored. Ultrasounds and abdomen x-rays may also be conducted to ensure that no plant material is left inside or no swelling has occurred.
Treatment of Wild Coffee Poisoning in Dogs
To avoid any further development of symptoms, you should see a veterinarian. After diagnosis is made, the veterinary specialist will be able to consider various types of treatment, depending on the extent of the damage done to your pet’s health. Fatalities are rare, but treatment will reduce any such chance. If your dog had an allergic reaction to the plant, your veterinarian will flush the mouth first with water and possibly use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. The veterinarian will administer about a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to each ten pounds of body weight. Activated charcoal could be used to absorb all of the remaining toxins.
If large quantities of the plant were ingested, a gastric lavage will be conducted to empty the dog’s stomach. If dehydration occurs, which is usually inevitable, the veterinarian will administer fluids via injection or intravenous. Kapectolin may be given to soothe the stomach of gastrointestinal upset. Medication may be added to the IV to help in the cessation of vomiting and diarrhea. The blood work will determine whether electrolytes are given to your pet.
More severe cases of toxicity may iinvolve supportive care such as antiemetics and oxygen. Monitoring of your pet's vital signs, such as heart rate and respiration will be constant.
Recovery of Wild Coffee Poisoning in Dogs
Prognosis is good for wild coffee poisoning, but severe ingestion may require ongoing supportive care. Continue to hydrate your pet and closely watch for any relapse. Take your dog to the veterinarian office right away, if that is the case.