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Poisoning by substances of plant origin is unusual in both dogs and cats, yet it is possible; as many veterinarians do not know which plants can contain toxic active principles, the possibility of intoxication by ornamental plants commonly used to decorate houses, gardens and parks cannot be considered in clinical practice; on the other hand, overestimating the problem is the opposite risk. Being aware of the conditions under which these poisonings can occur and carrying out all the necessary preventive measures, poisoning incidence can be reduced. The aim of the present work is to help veterinarians to know which plants can be responsible, even occasionally, for intoxication in companion animals. This review is not a botanical report, so specific works are suggested for a more detailed description of the plants mentioned; nevertheless, for each plant, the parts responsible for the intoxication, toxic principles and clinical symptoms following the ingestion of the latter and the correct therapeutic practice in cases of such poisoning are described.
Toxic plants and companion animals
L. Severino*
Address: Division of Toxicology, Department of Pathology and Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Naples
Federico II, via Delpino 1, 80137 Naples, Italy
*Correspondence: Email:
Received: 1 December 2008
Accepted: 12 January 2009
doi: 10.1079/PAVSNNR20094008
The electronic version of this article is the definitive one. It is located here:
CAB International 2009 (Online ISSN 1749-8848)
Poisoning by substances of plant origin is unusual in both dogs and cats, yet it is possible; as many
veterinarians do not know which plants can contain toxic active principles, the possibility of
intoxication by ornamental plants commonly used to decorate houses, gardens and parks cannot
be considered in clinical practice; on the other hand, overestimating the problem is the opposite
risk. Being aware of the conditions under which these poisonings can occur and carrying out all the
necessary preventive measures, poisoning incidence can be reduced. The aim of the present work
is to help veterinarians to know which plants can be responsible, even occasionally, for intoxi-
cation in companion animals. This review is not a botanical report, so specific works are suggested
for a more detailed description of the plants mentioned; nevertheless, for each plant, the parts
responsible for the intoxication, toxic principles and clinical symptoms following the ingestion of
the latter and the correct therapeutic practice in cases of such poisoning are described.
Keywords: Toxic plants, Dog, Cat
Review Methodology: We searched the following database: PubMed NCBI Journals. In addition, we used the references from the
articles obtained by this method to check for additional relevant material.
The possibility that plants can represent a risk for com-
panion animals is not described as widely as for herbi-
vorous animals in the scientific literature. The incidence of
intoxication by substances of plant origin is limited in both
dogs and cats because plants are not normally part of their
diet; nevertheless, many veterinarians do not know the
plants that represent a risk for domestic animals, and
therefore the possibility of such poisoning could not be
taken into account in clinical practice; in contrast, over-
estimating the problem is the opposite risk. For these
reasons, identification of the plants suspected to have
evoked clinical symptoms in the animals is essential;
moreover, knowing the places where the plant grows
(parks, gardens and indoor, such as ornamental plants)
and where the animals live or go regularly are also
important elements for diagnosis.
Poisoning by substances of plant origin is unusual in
companion animals, yet possible [1, 2]; such intoxications
can be avoided if the circumstances in which they can
occur are known and if all relevant preventive measures
are put into practice. The suspicion of poisoning by sub-
stances of plant origin can be confirmed by a careful
anamnesis and considering the circumstances in which the
animals might be highly exposed; for example, the habit of
chewing the plants or parts of them is most frequent in
puppies during teething or in bored animals that spend
most part of the day at home. Chewing a plant does not
necessarily mean it will be swallowed; moreover, when
parts of a toxic plant are swallowed, the amount of plant is
tightly associated with the manifestation of clinical symp-
toms. Finally, it is important to note that only few plants,
such as oleander and castor bean, are highly toxic; in
other cases, the ingestion of small amounts of a dangerous
plant may not cause any symptoms or the death of the
Antidotes do not exist for most of the poisonings
caused by dangerous plants in small animals; as a con-
sequence, treatment is symptomatic and supportive care.
CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 2009 4, No. 008
In general, it is possible to administer emetic drugs to
remove toxic parts from the organism only if the diagnosis
is carried out within 2 h of the ingestion of the plant; in
addition, it is possible to administer activated charcoal 2–3
times during the first 24 h. It is very important to monitor
the fluid and electrolyte balance that could be altered by
vomiting and diarrhoea induced in pets by many plant
Indoor Ornamental Plants
Among the ornamental plants often used for decorative
purposes at home, dumb cane (Dieffenbachia picta) can
represent a risk for the health of companion animals. It
belongs to the Araceae family and originates from South
America. The big elliptic leaves are green with white
variegations. The toxic parts are leaves, roots and the
trunk, which contain a very irritating juice; it is rich in fine
calcium oxalate crystals. Indirect toxicity enhances the
penetration of proteolytic enzymes in animal tissues par-
tially degraded by the latex [3]. Moreover, calcium oxalate
crystals cause mechanical injuries to mast cells, favouring
the release of histamine. Calcium oxalates are irritating
for mucosas and cause intense pain in the mouth, saliva-
tion, paralysis of the tongue and dysphagia. The symptoms
mainly affect the digestive apparatus (such as stomatitis
and tough oedema), skin (such as vesicular rash or toxic
erythema), kidney and respiratory apparatus, with the
death of the animal following the ingestion of large
amounts of the plant [4, 5]. Therapy is symptomatic
and includes the administration of antihistamine and
washing the mouth with sodium bicarbonate solution or
water. Removing the residues of plant from the stomach
of the animal by administering emetic drugs represents a
good practice if the ingestion has happened within the
last 2 h.
Philodendron (Philodendron scandens) is a plant belong-
ing to the Araceae family. It is often responsible for lethal
poisoning in cat. The dangerous parts of the plant are the
trunk and stipes, containing toxic substances such as
proteolytic enzymes and calcium oxalate. The symptoms
are similar to those evoked by Dieffenbachia and they
include symptoms affecting the digestive apparatus (such
as stomatitis and tough oedema), skin (such as vesicular
rash or toxic erythema), kidney and lung. Therapy is
symptomatic and includes the administration of anti-
Breadfruit tree (Monstera deliciosa) belongs to the
Araceae family. It is also called Philodendron pertusum
because of the holes present in the biggest leaves. It is
often used to decorate houses and offices and can reach
great dimensions. The toxic parts are leaves and stalks,
which contain a very irritating juice that is dangerous
for companion animals; it can cause oedema of the oral
and labial mucosa and dermatitis by direct contact.
Administration of antihistamine and washing the mouth
with calcium gluconate could be useful for therapy.
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum pictum) belongs to the
Euphorbiaceae family. It is a plant with wide variegated
leaves; there is a caustic and vesicant latex in the leaves
and trunk that is rich in calcium oxalate. Moreover, seeds
contain a proteic phytotoxin that can be dangerous for
companion animals. The latex provokes localized eczema
when it directly touches the skin at first; then the lesion
extends to the body parts not directly exposed to the
toxic. Moreover, the latex can cause proteinuria, cylin-
druria and, sometimes, hyperthermia. The ingestion of
seeds causes colic, bleeding diarrhoea and emesis. The
therapy is symptomatic.
Azalea (Rhododendron simsii), belonging to the Ericaceae
family, is a plant with flowers of different colours. The
toxic parts are leaves, containing a grayanotoxin, which
causes anorexia, depression, hypersalivation, emesis, colic,
tenesmus, tachypnea followed by bradypnea [6]. Other
symptoms of poisoning include kidney and liver failure. A
specific therapy does not exist.
Rubber plant (Ficus elastica) belongs to the Moraceae
family. It is frequently used to decorate not only houses
but also gardens, where it can become as large as a tree. It
has oval bright green leaves. The toxic substances are
present in the leaves and the trunk, where they form a
latex causing digestive disorders such as emesis and
diarrhoea. Such substances show vesicant properties too.
Sometimes, in addition to lesions affecting mucosa, skin
and digestive apparatus, renal injuries are also present.
The prognosis is often favourable and the therapy is
A few plants are commonly used during certain times of
the year to decorate houses: for example poinsettia,
mistletoe, holly and other winterberries are frequently
found indoors during Christmas time in many countries.
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) belongs to the
Euphorbiaceae family: the toxic parts are leaves, trunk and
red bracts containing a latex rich in cyclic tetraterpenes
that can provoke lacrimation, photophobia, conjunctivitis
and keratitis when it directly touches the eyes. More
rarely this toxic plant can evoke dermatitis, sialorrhea,
stomatitis and gastroenteritis. The therapy is sympto-
matic; cleansing the affected parts with lukewarm water
represents a good practice.
Mistletoe (Viscum album ) belongs to the Viscacee family.
It is a parasitic plant that grows on deciduous trees; it has
green leaves and translucent white berries that remain on
the plant throughout the winter. Leaves and stems contain
alkaloids, glycosides and saponines. Moreover, mistletoe
contains viscotoxins, which are long-chain polypeptides
with cardiac and neurotoxic actions. The characteristic
symptoms are gastrointestinal disorders, vomiting, diar-
rhoea and sialorrhea; neurological symptoms include
ataxia, mydriasis, hypersensitivity and weakness, while the
effects on cardiovascular functions include hypotension.
Treatment is symptomatic and supportive care.
2 Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources
Holly (Ilex aquifolium) belongs to the Aquifoliaceae
family. Dog is the species most frequently poisoned by
this plant. The leaves contain ilicine, ilexanthin, ilex acid
and tannins, while the berries contain both emetic and
purgative toxins. Symptoms include gastrointestinal dis-
orders, vomiting and diarrhoea. Treatment is sympto-
Outdoor Ornamental Plants
Many plants, trees and shrubs frequently used to decorate
gardens and parks can represent a risk to the health
of companion animals. Oleander (Nerium oleander)isa
very common shrub in the Mediterranean basin. It belongs
to the Apocynaceae family. Oleander is a highly toxic
plant in which all parts, leaves particularly, are toxic for
companion animals; consumption of only a few leaves,
in fact, is lethal for domestic animals [7]. Nevertheless,
poisoning is not frequent in dogs and cats. The oleander
contains many glycosides, such as oleandroside, nerioside,
neriatosside and rozagenin, showing cardiotoxic action
similar to digitalis. During the poisoning, the animals show
hypercalcaemia, hyperkalaemia and hypomagnesaemia;
yet more representative symptoms are vomiting, diar-
rhoea and heart block [8]. The therapy is symptomatic;
good results are obtained by administering of sulphate
ephedrine [9], sulphate atropine and propanolol [10].
Castor bean (Ricinus communis) belongs to the
Euphorbiaceae family. In many countries it is used as an
ornamental plant but it grows mainly as a wild plant from
the coast to the mountains. The toxic principle is a lectin
called ricin that is present in the seeds; it is a potent
poison and a few seeds could kill companion animals or a
child [11–13]. The symptoms differ among different spe-
cies; humans and horse are the most sensitive. The
symptoms of the poisoning appear about 6–42 h follow-
ing the ingestion of the seeds and they include digestive
disorders, vomiting, diarrhoea, gastrointestinal bleeding,
abdominal pain, a rise in body temperature, dehydration,
intense thirst and colic [14]. Other symptoms can
appear 1 day following the ingestion of the seeds such
as bleeding diarrhoea, tachycardia and convulsions until
the death of the animal [15–17]. The therapy is sympto-
Yew (Taxus baccata) is a shrub growing wild in moun-
tain and sub-mountain areas. It is among the most dan-
gerous plants for domestic animals; the toxins are
cardiotoxic alkaloids called taxins, present in seeds,
leaves, bark and wood. Although the large animals are the
most frequently intoxicated species [18, 19], companion
animals can also be affected by the toxic substances pre-
sent in the plant. The nervous symptoms represent the
most characteristic ones; after an early period of excita-
tion characterized by agitation and muscular tremors, a
status of depression follows with a depletion of the
respiratory frequency. Frequently, animals die without
showing any symptoms but post-mortem diagnosis is
easy because of the presence of leaves fragments in the
gastric content. There is no effective therapy because
the evolution of the poisoning is very fast; nevertheless,
heptaminol, administered precociously, seems to be
an effective antidote. The administration of analeptics and
purgatives could be useful. Sometimes, ameliorations are
obtained by administration of sodium thiosulphate.
Box (Boxus sempervirens) belongs to the Buxaceae
family; it is often used to delimit flowerbeds, grass and
gardens. Sometimes it causes intoxication in pig, but rarely
in companion animals. The leaves contain alkaloids, indu-
cing a sudden heart failure in animals, which have eaten
the plant. The therapy is symptomatic.
Silk tree or mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) belongs to the
Leguminosae family, and can reach the dimension of a
tree. Domestic animals can eat its seeds accidentally;
in such circumstances they show different symptoms
as emesis, colic, bleeding diarrhoea, tachycardia, tetanic
spasms and convulsions; moreover, proteinuria and
cylindruria could also be present. The toxic principle is
phytohaemagglutinin. The therapy is symptomatic.
Rhododendron (Rhododendron ferrugineum) belongs to
the Ericaceae family and it is commonly used to decorate
gardens and parks because it reaches a large size. Rarely,
pets such as dogs and cats are intoxicated by this plant;
the most frequently poisoned species are sheep and goat.
The toxic parts are leaves containing a grayanotoxin that
provokes in animals anorexia, hypersalivation, emesis,
colic, tenesmus, tachypnea followed by bradypnea. Kidney
and liver failures could also be present in the intoxicated
animals. The therapy is symptomatic [6].
Juniper (Juniperus sabina) is an evergreen shrub reaching
the dimension of a tree with aciform leaves that belongs
to the Cupressaceae family. It is a spontaneously arising
plant that is used as an ornamental outdoor plant in some
countries. Intoxication is rare because of the bitter taste
of the plant. Horses, cattle, sheep and goats could be
intoxicated if they ingest leaves or branches, while poi-
soning is extremely rare in both dogs and cats. The toxic
principles are essential oil, resins and gums present in the
whole plant. The symptoms include salivations, diarrhoea
(sometimes haemorrhagic) and dyspnea. Experimental
in vivo studies showed that J. sabina essential oil is
embryotoxic in mice [20]. Specific treatment does not
exist; administering activated charcoal could be helpful for
Laburnum (Cytisus laburnum), also known as gold chain,
belongs to the Leguminoseae family. It is a spontaneous
plant that is used to decorate gardens or parks in some
countries. Laburnum is a shrub reaching the dimension
of a tree, with yellow flowers formed in bunches; the
fruits are green pods that dry up, become black and
release little dark brown seeds. Horses and cattle are the
animals most frequently intoxicated by this plant, while
dogs are poisoned only occasionally. The toxic parts are
leaves and seeds that contain toxic alkaloids such as
L. Severino 3
cytisine, methylcytisine, laburinine and laburnamin. Clinical
symptoms include agitation, dyspnea, vomiting, convul-
sions and tachycardia. The death of the animal happens
only in the most severe cases. Specific treatment does not
exist [21].
A few plants such as tulip, lily and narcissus are often
used to decorate gardens but they can be found also in
houses as potted plants or flower compositions because
of their coloured flowers.
Iris (Iris sibirica) belongs to the Iridaceae family and is an
ornamental plant used mainly in gardens. The flowers are
violet, yellow or white. The toxic substances are alkaloids
present in the bulbs and glycosides called iridin, which has
irritant and purgative actions. The symptoms are those
characteristic of gastroenteritis with haemorrhagic diar-
rhoea; the therapy is symptomatic.
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum ibrido) is an ornamental plant
that belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family with scarlet
flowers. There are toxic alkaloids present in the bulbs as
in those of I. sibirica. The symptoms are similar to gastro-
enteritis and the therapy is symptomatic.
Tulip (Tulipa ibrido) belongs to the Liliaceae family; it is a
well-known ornamental plant with flowers of many col-
ours. The bulbs are toxic because of the presence of toxic
alkaloids affecting the digestive system where they cause
a syndrome similar to gastroenteritis. The therapy is
Lily (Lilium spp.) belongs to the Liliaceae family. It is a
plant with coloured flowers; several cultivars exist such as
Easter lily, tiger lily and Japanese lily. Just a few leaves or
only one flower represent a risk for the health of cats,
which is the most susceptible species. In particular, an
aqueous extract of leaves and flowers is nephrotoxic
and pancreotoxic [22]. The bulbs are nephrotoxic and
contain toxic alkaloids that cause renal failure, particularly
in cats, while dogs are more resistant; sometimes lily
determines acute renal failure that leads to the death of
animals which are oliguric or anuric [23]. Symptoms
appear early within 24 h after ingestion and include
vomiting, depression, polyurea, polydipsia, glucosuria,
proteinuria and azotemia. Significant histologic kidney
changes included acute necrosis of proximal convoluted
tubules [24] and degeneration of pancreatic acinar cells
[22]. Successful treatment can be accomplished with early
decontamination with emetic drugs within at least 2 h
from ingestion or administering activated charcoal and
aggressive fluid therapy as soon as possible, continuing it
for at least 48 h.
Narcissus (Narcissus spp.) belongs to the Amary-
llidaceae family. It is an ornamental plant with white or
yellow flowers. Dog is the most often intoxicated species
because it can chew or swallow the toxic parts of the
plant, but narcissus toxicosis can happen in cat too [25].
Bulbs are the most toxic parts because they contain toxic
alkaloids such as galanthamine and lycorine, but flowers
and leaves can also represent a risk for companion ani-
mals. Symptoms appear early and they include vomiting
and diarrhoea, abdominal pain, anorexia and sialorrhea,
but intoxicated animals can show ataxia, lethargy, hypo-
thermia, bradycardia, hypotension and depression until
overcome by coma if the ingested amount is high; in some
severe poisoning the animal dies, approximately 15 g of
bulb may be capable of killing a dog. Specific treatment
does not exist, so it is necessary to carry out a sympto-
matic treatment and decontaminate the organism via
emesis if the poisoning is diagnosed within a few hours of
Plants and Plant Products Used in Human Diet
Some plants commonly used for human consumption can
represent a risk for companion animals. Onion (Allium
cepa) is frequently used in human diet, while dogs and cats
generally do not eat raw onion. Nevertheless, sometimes
it is possible that home food containing onions could be
administered to pets by owners. An experimental study
carried out with cats fed with baby food containing onion
powder showed that they developed anaemia associated
with increased Heinz body formation [26]. A recent study
has showed that onion causes haemolytic anaemia in dogs
fed with cooked onions at 30 g/kg body weight for 2 days.
Blood samples collected at different days revealed that
red blood cells counts, haemoglobin and haematocrit
were significantly decreased from the first day, also the
number of Heinz bodies in erythrocytes was increased
and other erythrocyte parameters were altered [27].
Sodium n-propylthiosulphate, isolated from (boiled)
onions, was considered as the agent responsible for
induced haemolytic anaemia in dogs. It causes oxidative
damage to haemoglobin and erythrocyte membrane and
such oxidative injury seems to be associated with the
amount of glutathione (GSH) present in the red cells [28].
Eccentrocytes appeared after dogs were fed onions and
they resulted from a direct injury to the erythrocyte
membrane, while reticulocytes could be observed only
5 days after onion feeding [29]. Clinical signs appear
as early as 1 day after ingestion. The typical lesion is
anaemia; other symptoms are intravascular haemolysis,
pale mucoses, decreased haematocrit value, increased
methaemoglobin content and Heinz bodies in red cells.
Blood transfusions could be helpful in cases of severe
The family Rosaceae includes many of the most com-
mon fruit trees such as cherry, apricot, peach, apple
and plum. They could represent a risk for companion
animals only occasionally because pets playing with pips
or kernels of these fruits could ingest them. In fact, pips
of apples, kernels of fruits and leaves are toxic because
they contain cyanogenetic glycosides such as amygdalin,
prunasin and prulaurasin. Clinical signs can develop
within few minutes from the ingestion and include tre-
mors or ataxia, frothing at the mouth, dyspnea and con-
vulsions. Cyanides inhibit cytochrome oxidase and cellular
4 Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources
respiration; as a consequence, it can be useful to admin-
ister sodium nitrate, which forms methaemoglobin that
binds with cyanide forming cyan-methaemoglobin, and
sodium thiosulphate, which converts cyanides to thio-
cyanate [30].
The fruit of Theobroma cacao represents the source
of cocoa; the plant belongs to the Sterculiaceae family
and contains the toxic principle theobromine, which
affects primarily the heart. Clinical symptoms include
cardiovascular effects (tachycardia, hypertension and
arrhythmias), gastrointestinal effects (vomiting and diar-
rhoea) and, following the ingestion of large amounts of
the toxic principle, nervous effects can occur such as
agitation, hyperactivity, tremors and seizures. In severe
intoxication, death can occur because of heart failure [31].
The author thanks Dr Rosario Russo, Department of
Pathology and Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary
Medicine of Naples (Italy) for his assistance in the
preparation of this article.
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6 Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources
... Alkaloids responsible from the toxic effects are narcissine, narciclasine, galanthamine, and lycorine in high amounts. They contain calcium oxalate crystals (Severino, 2009;Kızıl and Çiftçi, 2018). Glycosides of this plant include scillitoxin. ...
... Lycorine and other alkaloids cause irritation, emesis and purgative effects and calcium oxalate crystals cause mechanical irritation (Campbell and Chapman, 2000). Toxicity: Poisoning cases related to daffodil generally result from ingestion of the plant and drinking water in the plant container (Severino, 2009). In dogs, poisoning cases frequently occur because they chew and consume (Campbell and Chapman, 2000;Saxon-Bury, 2004). ...
... An adult cat, 2 years old, has been presented to the animal hospital due to weakness and vomiting after ingestion of dried daffodil stems (Narcissus spp. (Severino, 2009). Clinical signs occur within 15 min to 24 h. ...
... Lesions localized on oral mucosa could be due to plants rich in oxalates, such as Dieffenbachia picta, Philodendron scadens and Codiaeum variegatum pictum. Calcium oxalates are irritating for mucosas and cause intense pain in the mouth, stomatitis, salivation, paralysis of the tongue and tough oedema (Severino, 2009). In case of suspected poisoning by strychnine, it could be useful to add a sample of muscles and pancreas. ...
... It must be refrigerated or frozen until the analysis. The macroscopic and microscopic evaluation of gastric contents and faeces may be useful for the detection and identification of residues of toxic plants (Severino, 2009). Hair is usually overlooked but it The disease has a major economic impact in India, but it is difficult to assess because of lack of exact epidemiological data. ...
... It must be refrigerated or frozen until the analysis. The macroscopic and microscopic evaluation of gastric contents may be useful for the detection and identification of residues of toxic plants (Severino, 2009). Feces are suitable for analysis too. ...
... Lesions localized on oral mucosa could be due to plants rich in oxalates, such as Dieffenbachia picta, Philodendron scadens and Codiaeum variegatum pictum. Calcium oxalates are irritating for mucosas and cause intense pain in the mouth, stomatitis, salivation, paralysis of the tongue and tough oedema (Severino, 2009). ...
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In Veterinary Medicine, suspected poisoning often cannot be detected and certified by a Toxicology Laboratory due to many procedural errors and unclear requests for analysis. Therefore, the current study provides guidelines to obtain a definitive diagnosis on poisoning in domestic animals illustrating the multi-step approach to achieve such goal. The Authors describe the components and procedures needed for acquiring a good clinical anamnesis. Moreover, the utility and modality to perform a necropsy are described along with the method to collect and dispatch biological materials to Veterinary Toxicology Laboratory. At the end, the analytical techniques currently employed in detection of major toxic substances, responsible for frequent poisoning in domestic animals, are briefly described.
... lavandulol (0.33-12.5), βthujone (7.2-8.6), 4(10)-thujen-3-ol (1. (Asili et al., 2010;Severino, 2009). This toxic Juniper species, due to the presence of toxic sabinol derivatives causes congestion of the kidneys with hematuria, congestion of other abdominal viscera, menorrhagia and abortion (Craig et al., 2004;Pages et al., 1996). ...
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In this paper, a detailed study on chemical characterization of essential oils (EOs) constituents of leaves and stems of Achillea fragrantissima were carried out using GC-FID and GC-MS analysis employing two different stationary phase columns. In the studied plant which is collected from the central region of Saudi Arabia, trans-sabinyl acetate and trans-sabinol have been identified as the major components. To the best of our knowledge, these components are being reported for the first time as the major constituents in the EOs of A. fragrantissima. The results showed that chief chemical components of both (leaves and stems) oils were found to be almost same, however, their contents varied noticeably from each other. Among 108 identified components in the leaves oil, the major components were trans-sabinyl acetate (20.7 ± 0.00), trans-sabinol (14.9 ± 0.13), artemisia ketone (12.7 ± 0.46), santolina alcohol (10.1 ± 1.30), β-sesquiphellandrene (5.5 ± 0.01), β-thujone (5.1 ± 0.11). Whereas, in the stem oil 85 components were identified and trans-sabinyl acetate (24.0 ± 0.19), trans-sabinol (19.2 ± 0.01), artemisia ketone (16.3 ± 0.74), santolina alcohol (10.4 ± 1.50), and β-sesquiphellandrene (4.8 ± 0.01) were found to be the major components. Among the identified components form both oils, 23 components were specific to only leaves oil, whereas 85 components were found to be common in both oils.
... Fatal poisoning by toxic plants in domestic animals is common worldwide [8][9][10][11]. Often, such poisoning occurs during dry seasons due to a relative shortage of alternative forage. ...
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Background: Crepis lacera is a plant from the Asteraceae family that is common in the Mediterranean region. Farmers believe that this plant may be deadly to small ruminants in areas of southern Italy. However, scientific evidence is lacking, and no proof exists that C. lacera is toxic to ruminants. Necropsies conducted on four sheep revealed lesions in their livers and kidneys. Results: In the current study, we described sheep poisoning and isolated secondary metabolites from Crepis lacera to assess the metabolites' biological activity both in vitro and in vivo. Phytochemical study of the aerial portions of Crepis lacera led to the isolation of five sesquiterpene lactones and two phenolic compounds. Cellular viability was evaluated in cell cultures of the bovine kidney cell line Madin Darby Bovine Kidney (MDBK) after incubation with phytochemicals. Our results showed that three sesquiterpene lactones, 8-epidesacylcynaropicrin-3-O-β-glucopyranoside (2), 8-epigrosheimin (3), and 8-β-hydroxydehydrozaluzanin C (4), were cytotoxic after 48 h of incubation. In addition, in the in vivo study, animals that received 1 mg/kg body weight (bw) of Crepis lacera extract and were then sacrificed after 48 h showed significant lesions in their liver, lungs and kidneys. These lesions were also found in rats that received 2 mg/kg bw of the same extract and sacrificed after 24 and 48 h. Conclusions: These results validate the hypothesis that C. lacera is potentially dangerous when ingested in large quantities by grazing small domestic ruminants. Further studies are necessary to clarify the molecular mechanisms of Crepis spp. toxicity in animals.
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El objetivo de este trabajo fue realizar una primera prospección sobre la etnobotánica de plantas tóxicas en el partido de Vicente López (Buenos Aires, Argentina). Se trabajó con personas adultas que residen y/o trabajan en el área de estudio. La información y materiales se recopilaron mediante recorridos por la zona y entrevistas abiertas y semiestructuradas. Se identificaron 42 especies consideradas tóxicas, cuyas partes producen efectos variados y de distinta gravedad. El consenso sobre su toxicidad es en general bajo y el concepto vernáculo de tóxico no es unívoco; la gente emplea diferentes criterios para clasificar a una especie como tóxica. Las actitudes ante las plantas tóxicas también varían. Los resultados están en concordancia con lo previsto para el conocimiento botánico urbano. La postura de quienes hacen un manejo consciente de estas especies, basado en sus conocimientos y en las particularidades del contexto, es la deseable para conservar la salud y la flora simultáneamente. Este trabajo provee una base para comprender las representaciones y percepciones locales sobre el tema, a partir de las cuales se pueden diseñar programas educativos, a la vez que aporta a la etnobotánica y disciplinas afines. // Abstract: Summary: The purpose of this study was to carry out a first survey on the ethnobotany of toxic plants in Vicente López district (Buenos Aires, Argentina). The study was performed with adult men and women who live and/or work in the study area. Information and materials were gathered through visits to the surroundings, and open and semistructured interviews. A total of 42 species were considered toxic by the interviewees; their parts produce various effects of different severity. Consensus about their toxicity was generally low and the vernacular concept of toxic was not univocal; people use different criteria to classify a plant as toxic. Attitudes in relation to toxic plants also vary. The results agree with the predictions for urban botanical knowledge. The position of those who make a conscious management of these species, based on their knowledge and the particularities of the context, is the desirable one in order to simultaneously preserve human health and flora. This work provides a basis for understanding local representations and perceptions on the topic, from which educational programs can be designed, and contributes to ethnobotany and related disciplines.
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The following details a case of toxicosis in two 4-month-old mixed breed dogs (female, 7.5 kg; male, 9.7 kg) by the Caribbean Sharp-nosed Pufferfish Canthigaster rostrata; a small but lethally neurotoxic marine fish that contains tetrodotoxin (TTXs) as well as potential saxitoxins (SSXs). Following consumption of at least 30 juvenile C. rostrata, one dog showed gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms indicative of presumptive TTX poisoning that endured for 4-6hrs. The dog recovered within 6-12hrs following treatment with activated charcoal. The second dog consumed 5-10 juvenile C. rostrata and exhibited no major side-effects. To our knowledge, this is the first report of dogs poisoned by the pufferfish C. rostrata, which contributes to the present understanding of TTX toxicosis and treatment in canines. We document this case to bring awareness of this potential risk to pet-owners and veterinarians working in coastal Neotropical or Caribbean regions. Keywords: Canine, Poisoning, Consumption, Marine, Neurotoxin, Activated Charcoal, Utila, Bay Islands Resumen Español: A continuación, se detalla un caso de toxicosis en dos perros de raza mixta de 4 meses de edad (machos, 9.7 kg; hembras, 7.5 kg) causado por el pez globo caribeño de nariz afilada, Canthigaster rostrata. El C. rostrata es un pez marino pequeño, pero letalmente neurotóxico que contiene tetrodotoxina (TTX), y potencialmente saxitoxinas (SSX). Después del consumo de al menos 30 juveniles de C. rostrata, un perro mostró síntomas gastrointestinales y neurológicos indicativos de una presunta intoxicación por TTX que duró de 4 a 6 horas. El perro se recuperó dentro de las 6-12 horas siguientes después de un tratamiento con carbón activado. El segundo perro consumió alrededor de 5-10 juveniles de C. rostrata y no exhibió efectos secundarios importantes. Hasta donde sabemos, este es el primer informe de perros envenenados por el pez globo C. rostrata, que contribuye a la comprensión actual de la toxicosis TTX y el tratamiento en los caninos. Documentamos este caso para dar a conocer este riesgo potencial a los dueños de mascotas y veterinarios que trabajan en las regiones costeras neotropicales o caribeñas. Palabras clave: Caso veterinario, Toxinas de pez globo, Veneno, Perro mascota, Carbón activado, Caribe
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Herbal drugs are more and more used both in human and veterinary medicine to mitigate and prevent minor diseases and to support conventional medicine using allopathic drugs. Nevertheless, 'natural product' does not mean lack of adverse effects, and many people and veterinarians do not know enough about the adverse reactions that can occur following the administration of such drugs in domestic animals. Moreover, herbal products can interact with each other when administered concomitantly or can agonize or antagonize the effects of synthetic drugs administered as primary therapy. The use of non-conventional medicines (NCM) should be considered as a veterinary practise. In this paper, the herbal drugs most utilized in domestic animals, both pets and large animals, are reviewed, as their use is increasing, despite the prejudices of the academic world and some of the adverse effects and interactions that can occur in domestic animals.
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Ricin, a lectin from the castor bean plant (Ricinis communis), is considered one of the most potent plant toxins. Ingestion of masticated seeds results in high morbidity, with vomiting and watery to hemorrhagic diarrhea. The prognosis varies with the number of seeds ingested, the degree of mastication, individual susceptibility, and the delay in treatment. Low mortality restricts assessment of histologic lesions, and the literature on toxicologic analysis for ricin is limited. This report describes a fatal case of castor bean ingestion in a 12-week-old Mastiff puppy, with confirmation of ricin exposure through detection of the biomarker ricinine by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Despite supportive therapy, the puppy died several hours after presentation for acute vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. At necropsy, a segment of jejunum and mesenteric lymph nodes were congested. When the owner reported the presence of castor beans in the dog's feces, selected formalin-fixed and unfixed tissues were submitted for diagnostic evaluation. Histopathologic findings included superficial necrotizing enteritis of the jejunum and occasional, random foci of coagulative necrosis in the liver. The alkaloid ricinine was detected in gastric content by using a newly developed LC/MS method. This confirmation of exposure is important in the diagnosis of ricin toxicosis, because ingestion of castor beans is not always fatal, histologic lesions are nonspecific, and the degree of mastication can influence the effective dose of ricin.
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Within one day following a single oral dose of dehydrated onions, dogs were found to have large numbers of Heinz bodies within erythrocytes. The percentage of erythrocytes that contained Heinz bodies increased slightly to a maximum on day 3 and then declined. The turbidity index increased more gradually with a maximal value on day 4. Erythrocytes with hemoglobin contracted to one side of the cell (eccentrocytes) also appeared after onion feeding. Eccentrocytes are believed to result from a direct injury to the erythrocyte membrane. As with Heinz body-containing cells, the percentages of eccentrocytes present declined as anemia developed. The packed cell volume began to decrease one day after onion administration. A mean decrease of 19 percentage points was reached by day 5. The most anemic dogs had evidence of intravascular hemolysis. Reticulocytosis was first observed five days after onion administration. A slight increase in methemoglobin content was measured four hours after onion administration. No significant changes in erythrocyte reduced glutathione concentration were measured. Transient neutrophilia occurred concomitant with the peak reticulocyte response.
A single case of accidental fatal poisoning by Dieffenbachia picta, (dumb cane) (Araceae) in a 9-y-old female Poodle is described. Clinical signs included severe, locally extensive erosive/ulcerative glossitis accompanied by marked dyspnea of acute onset. The animal did not respond to emergency procedures to relieve severe respiratory distress; fatal asphyxiation ensued from edema of the glottis a few hours after the first clinical signs were observed. According to the owner, the dog had access to a tall, potted dumb cane plant and chewed the thick stem of the plant intensely. The owner did not authorize a necropsy of the animal. The diagnosis of Dieffenbachia picta poisoning was based on the history of accidental consumption of dumb cane and clinical signs. A comparison of this single case with other reports of dumb cane poisoning suggests that dogs poisoned by Dieffenbachia species usually recover uneventfully with conservative management and that death from asphyxiation is a rare but possible consequence of this intoxication. Severe edematous swelling of the glottis with occlusion of the larynx airway passage can occur in those cases in which large amounts of sap are quickly squeezed from the plant during intense chewing. Death would occur if owners do not seek veterinary care immediately and if emergency procedures are not instituted on time.
Juniperus sabina essential oil was evaluated for its fetotoxic potential on mice. Pregnant dams were injected s.c. (15-45 or 135 mg essential oil/kg body weight) on days 6 to 15 of gestation. They were killed and the uterine contents were examined on day 19 of pregnancy. The fetuses were removed for examination. The dams of the two higher treated groups showed a significant weight loss as compared to controls. An hepatotoxicity was observed among females that resorbed their whole litter, thus indicating a greater susceptibility towards Juniperus sabina essential oil during pregnancy. The essential oil induced, in the three treated groups, an embryotoxicity as manifested by a statistically significant increase in the number of affected litters; but no fetotoxicity.
Although the highly toxic nature of castor bean (Ricinus communis) is well recognized, reports of human toxicity in the English medical literature are scarce. The potentially lethal doses reported for children and adults are three beans and four to eight beans respectively. Recent experience with two cases provides added insight into the expected course of toxicity. In both cases, repeated vomiting, diarrhea, and transiently elevated serum creatinine occurred. Dehydration was much more pronounced in the second case. Both patients recovered uneventfully. Other reported manifestations of castor bean toxicity, such as hepatic necrosis, renal failure, erythrocyte hemolysis, convulsions, and shock, did not occur.
Cacao bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline. A dog, which ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from cacao bean shells, developed severe convulsions and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the ingested cacao bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of theobromine.
Nerium oleander leaves caused the death within 36 hours of 7 of 17 cattle which had access to boughs of the plant. Arrhythmia and auriculo-ventricular block at ECG were found in three cattle surviving on day 4. In one animal which died on day 4, postmortem examination revealed subendocardial and abomasal hemorrhages. Epidermic tissues of the leaves of N oleander were found in the rumen content. Recovery occurred in the three animals with marked cardiac signs.
To determine whether cats fed baby food with onion powder develop Heinz bodies and anemia and to establish a dose-response relation between dietary onion powder content and Heinz body formation. Prospective study. 42 healthy, adult, specific-pathogen-free cats. Commercial baby food with and without onion powder was fed to 2 groups of 6 cats for 5 weeks. Heinz body percentage, PCV, reticulocyte percentage, turbidity index, and methemoglobin and reduced glutathione concentrations were determined twice weekly and then weekly for 4 weeks following removal of the diet. For the dose-response study, 5 groups of 6 cats were fed a canned diet for 2 months that contained 0, 0.3, 0.75, 1.5, or 2.5% onion powder. Heinz body percentage, PCV, and reticulocyte percentage were determined twice weekly. Compared with cats fed baby food without onion powder, cats ingesting baby food with onion powder had significantly higher Heinz body percentages that peaked at 33 to 53%. Methemoglobin concentration also significantly increased but did not exceed 1.2%. Glutathione concentration, PCV, and food intake did not differ between the 2 groups. Rate and degree of Heinz body formation differed significantly between various onion powder concentrations fed. Compared with 0% onion powder, the diet with 2.5% onion powder caused a significant decrease in PCV and an increased punctate reticulocyte percentage. Baby food or other foods containing similar amounts of onion powder should be avoided for use in cats because of Heinz body formation and the potential for development of anemia, particularly with high food intake. Cats with diseases associated with oxidative stress may develop additive hemoglobin damage when fed baby food containing onion powder.
The oxidative effects of sodium n-propylthiosulfate, one of the causative agents of onion-induced hemolytic anemia in dogs, were investigated in vitro using three types of canine erythrocytes, which are differentiated by the concentration of reduced glutathione and the composition of intracellular cations. After incubation with sodium n-propylthiosulfate, the methemoglobin concentration and Heinz body count in all three types of erythrocytes increased and a decrease in the erythrocyte reduced glutathione concentration was then observed. The erythrocytes containing high concentrations of potassium and reduced glutathione (approximately five times the normal values) were more susceptible to oxidative damage by sodium n-propylthiosulfate than were the normal canine erythrocytes. The susceptibility of the erythrocytes containing high potassium and normal reduced glutathione concentrations was intermediate between those of erythrocytes containing high concentrations of potassium and reduced glutathione and normal canine erythrocytes. In addition, the depletion of erythrocyte reduced glutathione by 1-chloro-2, 4-dinitrobenzene resulted in a marked decrease in the oxidative injury induced by sodium n-propylthiosulfate in erythrocytes containing high concentrations of potassium and reduced glutathione. The generation of superoxide in erythrocytes containing high concentrations of potassium and reduced glutathione was 4.1 times higher than that in normal canine erythrocytes when the cells were incubated with sodium n-propylthiosulfate. These observations indicate that erythrocyte reduced glutathione, which is known as an antioxidant, accelerates the oxidative damage produced by sodium n-propylthiosulfate.