26 Jan Poisonous Plants KARAKA
Here is one for our New Zealand followers. Karaka (also known as the New Zealand laurel) is a common tree in New Zealand, particularly in the north island. Whilst the berries are an important food source for native birds such as the Kererū, the kernels inside the berries contain a neurotoxic poison known as karakin. Any ingestion of the kernel has the potential to be problematic.
Dogs are most commonly involved in the cases of karaka berry ingestion reported to the Animal Poisons Helpline. Signs of poisoning in dogs include vomiting, weakness, seizures, and paralysis. These signs can develop within a couple of hours of ingestion, however there are anecdotal reports of delayed onset poisoning up to 1-2 days after ingestion. Other animals including rabbits, horses, cattle, and sheep may also be affected. The nectar from the karaka tree is also reported to be toxic to bees, that may become weak and unable to fly after feeding on it.
Unripe Karaka berries are green and turn orange before falling from trees. In some locations, the berries are starting to fall now and will continue to do so until mid-Autumn. Kernels that fall to the ground can remain toxic for months. If you have a Karaka tree growing in your neighbourhood, ensure you leash and observe your dog whilst near them. If your dog is likely to scavenge, do not walk them directly under the trees as they are known to voluntarily eat the berries.
If your pet has ingested something they should not have, please phone the Animal Poisons Helpline on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ) for advice. The Animal Poisons Helpline is a free service for all pet owners in Australia and New Zealand.
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