Since Spring is upon us, it’s time to talk about some plants! I struggled for a while on what I wanted to cover in J. There’s a lot of plants beginning with the “J”, as we seem to favor a lot of Japanese plants! I finally settles on two with which I hop you are all familiar! For our Js, we will be covering Juglans nigra (Black Walnut), and Jasmine.
Black walnut is far more toxic to horses than it is for cats and dogs!
Despite the pervasive myth that walnuts are really bad for cats and dogs, this is not entirely true. While walnuts that have fallen to the ground have a tendency to grow molds that can cause neurological signs in dogs (which we will cover on a different day), the nuts themselves are non-toxic to our common household pets.
Horses are a different story. They are particularly sensitive to the wood and nuts. The most common route of exposure for horses is when it finds it way to the shavings that horses use as bedding. It is unknown why black walnut causes a reaction in horses, but they can show some pretty severe signs:
- Lethargy or depression
- Inflammation of the tissues that connect the bone in the hoof to the hoof wall (laminitis)
- Unwillingness to eat or drink
- Edema or fluid accumulation in the legs
- Rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Colic if they ingest the nuts or shells
These signs usually start to occur within 8 hours of exposure to black walnut bedding, and it is believes that skin contact may enough to cause signs of toxicity.
Treatment for exposure is fairly simple, as the signs start to subside once you remove the bedding. Horses that are foundering or are in an extreme amount of pain from tissue inflammation might receive pain medications, and any abnormalities to the heart and respiratory rate will also be addressed by the vet.
Even though the nuts themselves are non-toxic to dogs, owners should still contact poison control if they believe their dog got a nut outside. Due to the possibility that there might be toxic mold growth on the fallen walnuts, consult a vet or toxicologist to discuss what signs to watch for, and what would indicate a trip to the vet.
Prevention is always the best way to “treat” a poisoning, so horse owners should have a care to use quality bedding. If you own a dog, make yourself aware of any walnut trees in your neighborhood (they’re hard to miss), and avoid letting your dog browse under the tree for nuts while on walks. If you have one in your yard, make sure to frequently rake up the old nuts to prevent your canine friends from getting them.
Nope! Today we’re covering our first non-toxic plant. There are no chemicals in the shrub that are harmful to your pets at home, so plant away!
However, anytime a pet ingest plant material, there is always the risk of mechanical irritation. Mechanical irritation is when the rough plant rubs up against the inside of a pet’s stomach, causing them to feel ill. This can result in mild vomiting and diarrhea.
Mild vomiting is usually not enough to send a pet into the vet, and should subside after a couple of bouts and an hour or two without food or water. If at any point an animal starts to vomit profusely, or the diarrhea becomes liquid, seek veterinary care.
As always, large amounts of plan material poses the risk of causing a foreign body obstruction, so make sure to contact a local vet clinic to discuss the possibility if your pet ingests an entire jasmine shrub.
No need to call the poison control center on this one guys!