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Vet Care in Massachusetts: Toxic, Poisonous Plants and Pets

toxic-plantsRegardless of what type of pet you have in your home, it is up to you to do the research and find out everything you can about the proper care and feeding of that animal to keep him safe and healthy. Plants can be beautiful, but they can also be toxic. Many of the common houseplants that people have inside their homes are toxic, poisonous and dangerous to pets. In addition, many of the plants that are sold at local garden centers and home improvement stores for planting outdoors may also be dangerous to pets.

If you are concerned that your pet may have ingested a toxic plant, contact your Dartmouth emergency vet right away. Anchor Animal Hospital is a local emergency veterinary hospital that provides urgent vet services for pets, as well as regular check-ups and veterinary care in Massachusetts. Give us a call today at 508-996-3731 to speak with our staff, schedule an appointment or ask for directions to our facility.

Common Outdoor Plants

Here is a list of outdoor plants that are commonly found throughout the United States. Cats that live outdoors, dogs out for walks or escapees from a backyard can all be put at-risk by exposure to these plants. While most must be ingested, some can be toxic simply by licking or sniffing. Please do everything you can to learn about these plants so you can protect your pets and neighborhood pets from having to visit the Dartmouth emergency vet.

  • TULIPS – Beautiful springtime flowers, these common outdoor plants contain toxins that can begin with stomach irritation, drooling and a loss of appetite, but end up resulting in convulsions, cardiac problems and a depression of the central nervous system. The bulb is the most dangerous part of this plant.
  • LILIES – There are many different types of lilies, and while not every lily will send your dog to the emergency veterinary hospital, it is important to avoid them whenever possible. So far the poisonous component of this plant has not been identified by veterinarians, but it is highly toxic to cats in particular. Severe kidney damage has been the result of ingesting even very small amounts of this toxic plant.
  • OLEANDER – A common bush that is used frequently in landscaping, the oleander is considered to be extremely toxic. All parts of the plant contain something known as “cardiac glycosides,” which can cause serious damage to all kinds of pets, including irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, hypothermia, abnormal heart functions and death.
  • CROCUS – Particularly the “autumn crocus”, which is quite popular, ingestion of this plant can result in bloody vomiting, oral irritation, shock, diarrhea and damage to multiple organs, as well as suppression of bone marrow.
  • CHRYSANTHEMUM – A very popular plant both outdoors and indoors, this plant causes drooling, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach upset if eaten, as well as loss of coordination and extreme depression if much is consumed.
  • AZALEA – Also known as the “Rhododendron”, these plants contain grayantoxins, which can cause severe symptoms, including drooling, diarrhea, weakness, vomiting and central nervous system depression.

Common Indoor Plants

Many homeowners have these plants and don’t even realize it. That’s because these are sold at gardening shops and home improvement stores without any warnings about their toxicity to pets. Most are so common that people buy them without even considering that they might be dangerous. In addition to the plants listed here there are many more that you need to be aware of to protect your pets. Do research and look for pet-safe or pet-friendly plants online.

  • CYCLAMEN – This species of plant is so named because it contains cyclamine. The most dangerous part of the plant is the roots, however the entire plant can be toxic if ingested. Symptoms include intense vomiting and gastrointestinal irritation, however this plant can also be fatal.
  • KALANCHOE – You might not recognize the name of this plant, but you would recognize it if you saw it. This succulent houseplant contains components that can be toxic to the heart, affecting the heart rate and rhythm.
  • SAGO PALM – A common houseplant palm, this plant is completely poisonous, but the nuts or seeds that it produces contain the most toxins. Just one or two seeds can cause seizures, liver failure, extreme diarrhea and vomiting.
  • SCHEFFLERA – Also known as “umbrella trees”, these plants contain toxic crystals that can cause irritation in the mouth, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
  • ENGLISH IVY – There are many common names for the English ivy plant, including branching, glacier, needlepoint, California and sweetheart. Whatever you call it, pets who ingest this can experience excessive drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • MARIJUANA – With more and more states legalizing this plant, emergency veterinary hospital clinics are seeing more patients coming in with toxic symptoms. Ingestion can lead to coordination issues, severe vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, rapid heart rate, seizures and can even put your pet in a coma.

If you have any questions at all about toxic plants or other types of veterinary care in Massachusetts, look no further than Anchor Animal Hospital. A local Dartmouth emergency vet, we can provide you with urgent vet services for pets, as well as emergency veterinary hospital services if your pet is experiencing any of these extreme and dangerous symptoms. Give us a call locally at 508-996-3731 to set an appointment or to find out more about our services.