Common California Plant Can Kill Your Pets


Oleander Plants are drought tolerant, easy to grow, make excellent hedges and  wind barriers and many of us have them in our front and back yards but they are  dangerous for our pets. 



I remember when I was a kid a woman in Palm Springs murdered her husband by making him oleander tea! She is probably still in prison!

Thank you to the Petco web site for the following information.
Toxicity Rating: High. Ingestion of even small amounts can kill.

Dangerous Parts: The entire plant is toxic. Consuming leaves, fresh or dried, will poison most dogs.

Symptoms: Gastrointestinal irritation, cardiac abnormalities and death, which may be sudden.

Plant Description: Oleander grows as an indoor plant in the northern United States and as an outdoor shrub in California, Florida and other warm regions. The leaves are lance-shaped, thick and leathery, and grow opposite each other. Sometimes leaves may grow in whorls. The leaves are 8 to 10 inches long, although smaller specimens will have shorter leaves. Flowers are showy, approximately 1 to 3 inches in diameter, and grow in large clusters at the ends of the branches. They can be white or any shade of pink or red.

Signs: Oleander contains the toxins oleandrin and nerioside, which are very similar to the toxins in foxglove (digitalis). Oleander is not palatable, but may still be eaten by hungry dogs. Dried or wilted leaves may be slightly more palatable than fresh leaves, but the leaves are toxic when wilted or dried. In one report, approximately pound of leaves (about 30 or 40 leaves) delivered a lethal dose to an adult horse.
Clinical signs may develop rapidly, and the dog may be found dead with no prior warning. In other cases, depression coupled with gastrointestinal distress is evident: vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), and abdominal pain. Irregularities in the heart rate and rhythm will occur: the heart may speed up or slow down and beat erratically. As the toxicosis progresses, the extremities may become cold, and the mucous membranes pale. Trembling and collapse can occur, followed by coma and death within a few hours.

First Aid: If dogs are observed eating oleander, contact a veterinarian immediately. The toxin acts quickly and is lethal in small amounts. Emergency measures may be used to empty the gastrointestinal tract of remaining plant matter, and medications may be administered to control the effects that the toxin has on the heart. Despite emergency care, the dog may still die, but the sooner treatment is begun, the better the chance for survival.

Prevention: Be able to identify oleander and exercise extreme caution when pets (and humans) are in the vicinity of these plants. Never place oleander where your dogs can have contact. Take extra care in cases where leaves can fall into a yard or a pen occupied by a bored or hungry dog. Animals and humans can also be hurt by oleander, even without touching the plant. Breathing the smoke or burning branches can cause poisoning, and merely smelling the flowers may be harmful.