02 Dec Highly Toxic Plants – Foxglove
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is sometimes grown in temperate cottage gardens of Australia and New Zealand for its attractive and colourful bell-shaped flowers. All parts of this plant contain toxic compounds known as cardiac glycosides. When ingested, these toxins can alter the electrical activity in the heart, which can be life-threatening.
Whilst not a common poisoning that the Animal Poisons Helpline is contacted about, severe effects can occur after the ingestion of a relatively small amount of plant material. Poisoning has been reported in a variety of animals including dogs, horses, ruminants, poultry, and pigs. Early signs of poisoning can include drooling, refusal to eat or drink, vomiting (in those animals that can vomit), and diarrhoea. As the poisoning progresses, animals may become weak, lethargic, and unsteady on their feet.
Whilst the plant is bitter and generally considered unpalatable, if you have Digitalis growing in your garden please ensure your pets cannot access it. If your pet has ingested something they should not have, you can call the Animal Poisons Helpline 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ) for advice.
The Animal Poisons Helpline is proudly sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Their support helps to keep this service FREE for all pet owners in Australia and New Zealand.
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