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Atlanta Local Vets Discuss Poisonous and Toxic Plants for Pets

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Due to the warm climate in Atlanta, pet owners will often leave their pets unattended in backyards, gardens, and parks. This can be a wonderful benefit to your pet’s happiness and health which is not an option for many pets who live in colder climates. However, veterinarians around Atlanta would attest to the number of health problems in pets which are caused by ingesting a piece of poisonous wildlife.

Like a child, one responsibility of pet owners is to mitigate the health risk factors present in their environment and to be prepared for emergency situations should they arise. Though this might seem like an arduous task, making your homes outside area pet-proof is not as intensive as making a home child-proof. There are many thousands of plant species, but only a select few are dangerous to the life and health of cats and dogs. Some basic knowledge and know-how regarding the health risks to your pet will help to ensure the quality of life and longevity of your pet while instilling confidence in you as a caretaker.

Owning and caring for a pet is a full-time job and often can require as much care as an infant child. While animals possess some innate instinct to avoid ingesting dangerous plants and wildlife, centuries of domestication has diluted this instinct in many dog and cat species. Owners can practice preventative care by keeping a journal of possible risks and responses to health specific scenarios.

Included in your journal, start by making three separate sections. The first section should be dedicated to plants specific to your geographic location which can be hazardous to your pet’s health if ingested. Be sure to include the common symptoms for each and possible treatments which can be administered from home if needed. Next, keep several pages clear for the documentation of the symptoms which you observe in your pet. Be as specific as you can with the details surrounding the circumstances of your pet’s illness. Include the date, time, and location where your pet exhibited abnormal symptoms. Also, include details regarding the symptoms themselves. Be sure to note physical indicators, such as pus or vomiting and behavioral changes such as lethargy or problems with balance. The third section of your pet’s journal you should include the local veterinarian’s offices, pet clinics, and animal hospitals along with the information on your pet’s medical history.

Veterinarians are not all created equal, especially when living in a large city such as Atlanta, GA. The regular local vet clinic for your pet likely will not operate on a 24-hour basis. In time-sensitive, emergency situations, the best option will often be to get your pet to the nearest animal hospital. If the animal hospital nearby differs from your regular local vet, it will be of great importance to provide the resident veterinarian with as much information as possible regarding your pet and the suspected reason for the emergency.

Dangerous Plants

Plants can contain dangerous toxins for many reasons. Unfortunately, it is usually by trial and error we come to learn of these attributes.  This gives animal clinics around Atlanta a tough task of identifying a pet’s cause of illness without the relevant background information.

  • Autumn Crocus

Though beautiful to look at, they are highly toxic and ingestion can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver damage, kidney damage, and respiratory failure. Your pet may show signs immediately or up to a few days after. Take your pet to the local emergency pet hospital or clinic at once.

  • Azalea

Azaleas can pose a serious health detriment to your pets. Without treatment by a veterinary professional, pets which have ingested even a few leaves of the Azalea are at risk of falling into a coma. This can cause death and it is imperative to seek medical treatment immediately. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive drooling.

  • Cyclamen

If ingested, the roots of the Cyclamen will cause severe vomiting and could cause death. This is a seasonal flower.

  • Kalanchoe

This succulent plant is very popular, however, ingesting the flowers can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and heart arrhythmias when ingested by your pet.

  • Lilies

Some Lilies are dangerous and some are not. Knowing the difference can save the life of your pet. Peace Lilies, Peruvian, and Calla Lilies can cause minor signs of irritation to the tongue and esophagus of your pet. The symptom of this can be minor drooling.

True lilies are potentially fatal and include Tiger lilies, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies. These are especially toxic to cats. Kidney failure can occur from ingesting only a few petals. It is imperative to decontaminate in the early stages after a pet is seen eating the petals of the lily. Inducing vomiting and giving binders, like activated charcoal, is imperative. However, this will not be enough if your pet does not receive immediate veterinary treatment.

  • Oleander

This lovely shrub is very popular, but extremely toxic if ingested. Both the leaves and flowers contain a toxic compound. The symptoms include severe vomiting, slowed heart rate, and can result in death.

  • Dieffenbachia

Symptoms of ingestion include oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty in swallowing. This plant is popular in offices and homes, but keep it out of reach of pets and children.

  • Daffodils

Daffodils contain an alkaloid called Lycorine, which triggers vomiting. The bulb, flower, and stem all contain properties which result in vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cardiac arrhythmias, and even respiratory depression. Seek out your local vet immediately if you see your pet ingesting daffodils.

  • Lily of the Valley

Symptoms of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, slowed heart rate, cardiac arrhythmias, and sometimes seizures. Seek medical care immediately for pets who have eaten the flowers or plant stem.

  • Sago Palm

Sago Palm is very common in and around the Atlanta area, as well as many other warm climates. It can be kept in offices, homes, and public spaces as well as outdoors. The harmful side effects and symptoms of ingestion include, but are not limited to, vomiting, bloody stools, deterioration to the lining of the stomach, liver failure, and in severe cases death. Seek veterinary help if your pet has ingested any leaves or seeds of the Sago Palm.

  • Tulips and Hyacinths

Labradors and cattle are especially susceptible to the severe symptoms of ingesting these plants. Both contain allergenic toxins which concentrate in the bulbs. If your pet consumes or chews any part of the plant contact a vet or animal clinic. Symptoms of ingestion and contact include profuse drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, faster heart rate, and respiratory irregularities. Be sure to keep your dog from digging in the garden for the bulbs.

There are many more plants which can be harmful to your pet’s health. This list comprises a collection of a few commonly seen causes of plant-based illness in pets. If your pet exhibits any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult a local veterinary hospital or clinic for advice and treatment. Do not attempt to treat your pet without the adequate information and support from a professional.

For immediate help, call the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661.

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