FULL STORY: Beautiful Flower Can Cause Death

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POSTED: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 5:36pm

UPDATED: Friday, April 15, 2011 - 4:00pm

EL PASO - It may be growing in your backyard and killing your dog.

Dr. Nancy Harvey, a local veterinarian at the Country Club Animal Clinic, says the Oleander flower is toxic and common in El Paso. Most Oleander shrubs in El Paso haven't bloomed, but the leaves can still be deadly.

Dr. Harvey says ten leaves from the plant are enough to kill an average size horse. She says just one half of a leaf can kill an average dog.

"It slows the heart rate and it causes arrhythmia. It can cause kidney damage, and it can also cause seizures," she said.

Dr. Harvey says normally the leaves taste bitter, so animals and even children stay away from them, but this year's freeze caused them to dry up. That changed the taste of the leaves, and now each and every one is literally a sweet poison.

"So, there's more animals now being exposed to that as well as probably humans. Little kids play around them and sometimes they eat them or touch them and don't wash their hands," Dr. Harvey said.

It's not just pets and kids that can be poisoned.

"There were a couple of firefighters, I'm not sure where this happened, but some Oleanders had caught fire and they were trying to put it out and they died just from being exposed to the fumes from the burning Oleander," she said.

So what should you watch out for?

"Normally, all of a sudden they're having vomiting and diarrhea. You wouldn't know they had a slow heart rate until you sought medical help," Dr. Harvey said.

Dr. Harvey says there is an antidote, but it's expensive. She says it costs at least $800.00 a vial, and it takes several vials to treat a person or an animal. It's also rare.

"I know I don't have the antidote in my clinic, and I'd be surprised if anybody has it," she said.

An Oleander grows up to 30-feet tall and it can be purple, pink or white.

Original Post: 

EL PASO - It may be growing in your backyard and killing your dog.

Dr. Nancy Harvey, a local veterinarian, says the Oleander flower is toxic and common in El Paso.

She says it usually tastes bitter, so pets and children normally stay away from it, but this year's freeze caused the plants to dry up, and that changed the plants taste. Now, pets across El Paso are showing signs of Oleander poisoning.

See the full story tonight on News Channel 9 at 5 and 10pm!
 

Comments News Comments

Our neighbors have oleanders and the leaves get in our swimming pool. Does this mean our pool becomes toxic?

robwalseb has issues that are deep and resounding. get help please and stop torturing small animals.

Ay KBRON!!

Oleander can result in toxicity to the heart, and clinical signs including vomiting, drooling, a very elevated or slow heart rate, lethargy, etc. When in doubt, contact Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control based out of Minneapolis (800-213-6680) or your veterinarian for treatment and decontamination recommendations right away!

Oleander can result in toxicity to the heart, and clinical signs including vomiting, drooling, a very elevated or slow heart rate, lethargy, etc. When in doubt, contact Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control based out of Minneapolis (800-213-6680) or your veterinarian for treatment and decontamination recommendations right away!

It is one of five plants that are illegal to sell or grow in Miami, Florida. Lantana is another, which is also common here.

The Mulberry Tree was banned here in El Paso due to the allergy aggravating blooms yet the Oleander is so abundant here. I think I'd rather suffer the allergies than the risk of intoxication.

is it okay to used the leaves as a mulch for a vegetable garden?

A good sign if your dog eat the plant; is if stopped moving, not breathing and pretty stiff. LOL

what are the signs and symptoms that come over a pet dog if they eat it???

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