Hearing about poisonous products for our pets is not uncommon, and this is in fact one of the most usual causes of emergency visits to the veterinarian. Among pet owners, the best known toxicants are chocolate, pesticides, and rat poison, but we need to bear in mind that our pets live in environments where they can be in contact with toxicants unknown to us.
Domestic plants cause a 5-10 % of toxicological consultations to veterinarians.
In this post we want to introduce a poisonous plant for pets that many of us use at home as a Christmas decoration: poinsettias.
The scientific name of poinsettias is Euphorbia pulcherrima, and it is a perennial shrub that comes in several colors — most commonly red. The red part of the plant is made of bracts, a special kind of leave that protects the flowers and attracts pollinating insects.
The toxicity of poinsettias is due to the irritating milky liquid that circulates along the stems and membranes, and might appear if the animal eats part of the plant, or if it touches the skin or the eyes.
Poisonings by this plant are usually mild, but still we should be aware of it. It is preferable not to have poinsettias within reach of our pets, especially the young ones.
Symptoms of Poinsettia Poisoning
If a pet eats poinsettia, the most frequent consequences are:
- hypersalivation (cats)
If the contact with poinsettias is only external, the animal might show:
- ocular secretion
- skin reddening and ulcers
If you suspect a poinsettia poisoning, contact immediately with a veterinarian: with a proper and early treatment, pets have a good recovery without complications.
We need to be specially careful with young animals. If they ate a large quantity of the plant the poisoning could be serious, affecting the nervous system, and causing tremblings, ravings, and even coma.
The best way to prevent poisonings is knowing which reagents are most dangerous for our four-legged friends and, in doubt, not to hesitate to ask us if you have any more questions!