Hemlock is extremely toxic for dogs

Conium maculatum extremely toxic

The hemlock belongs to the carrot family Apiaceae. There are many highly poisonous plants in this plant family, such as cowbane and fool's parsley. Hemlock is a biennial herbaceous plant that reaches up to 2 metres in height.

The stems are partly spotted red, the leaves are relatively small, green and pinnate. The flowers, which grow in large white umbels, are striking. It is very common in meadows, along hedges and roadsides.

All parts of the hemlock are very poisonous to dogs. Only when dried does it contain less poison. The poisonous alkaloids contained in the hemlock can, in the worst case, lead to respiratory paralysis of the dog.


Hemlock is also known as:
  • poison hemlock
  • wild hemlock
Hemlock with white flower umbels

What should I do if my dog ate Hemlock?

How toxic is Hemlock?

Toxicity:extremely toxic (extremely toxic)
Toxic parts:All parts of the hemlock are very poisonous.
Toxic time:spring, summer, autumn
Antidote:Unknown
POISONINGS REQUIRE QUICK REACTION:
If your dog shows symptoms of poisoning, it is always an emergency! Time is critical for your dog's life. You should immediately call your vet or the animal emergency services and make sure that a vet is on site and then go there immediately. For the treatment, it helps the vet a lot to know what your dog has ingested.

Occurrence Hemlock

Plant species:herbs
Occurrence:-
Areas:Europe, Mediterranean region
Flowering time:summer, autumn
Fruit ripening:autumn

Symptoms

The following symptoms may occur in case of poisoning with hemlock:

  • increased salivation
  • difficulty swallowing
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • diarrhoea
  • disorders of the musculoskeletal system with muscle cramps
  • tremors
  • paralysis
  • shortness of breath
  • restlessness
  • death due to respiratory paralysis

Treatment

The vet will always try to remove the ingested poison from the body and alleviate the specific symptoms of poisoning.

There are different methods to remove the poison from the body:

1. ACTIVATED CHARCOAL: Activated charcoal can absorb toxins. If possible, it should be administered within 2 hours after ingestion of the poison, so that the toxin does not enter the bloodstream.
2. LAXATIVES: The vet may combine the administration of activated charcoal with a laxative.
3. VOMITING: The vet can also induce vomiting using medication to remove the toxin from the body. 

To alleviate the symptoms, the vet can administer infusions if necessary and, in an emergency, also give the animal artificial respiration.

More information on dog poisonings can be found here: 

Preventing, identifying and treating poisoning in dogs

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