Hazardous Plants to Pets: Hyacinths and Hops

Hyacinth and Hops toxicity in pets

So, it’s been a while since I last posted!  As I spoke about in my about page, I struggle with pretty severe anxiety and OCD.  This past month I have been in and out of the hospital, so I have been unable to post!  But I am back and ready to pick up where I left off with the H’s.  We’ll be covering hyacinth flowers and hops!

Hops toxicity in pets

Hops are one of the most toxic things a pet can ingest.

 

There are a small number of substances that can really harm your pet.  On C-day, we covered Colchicine, and on E-day, we spoke a bit about Efudex.  Similar to both of these substances, Hops can also cause speedy reactions and be extremely deadly.

The “hop” is the bud of the Humulus lupulus plant, and is most frequently used in the process of making beer.  Home-brewers need to be particularly aware of this plant as a threat as they can be dangerous even after being brewed. In addition to their use in beer, they can be found in many different herbal supplements and even some pet calming products (these are usually of far too small an amount to be toxic at a therapeutic dose).

It is not known exactly why they are toxic, but sign of poisoning can be seen as quickly as one hour post-ingestion.

Signs

  • Restlessness/anxiety
  • Heavy panting
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Repeated seizures
  • Extremely high temperatures
  • Destruction of muscle tissue
  • Damage to the kidneys
  • Death

Treatments

There is no direct antidote for hops, so treatment will be mostly supportive, and need to be done at the clinic.  A vet or animal poison control center should be contacted immediately, as time is important when dealing with an exposure in any amount.  An animal exposed to them may require long-term hospitalization, and owner should be prepared for multiple treatments:

  • IV fluids
  • Medications or anesthesia to control seizures
  • Temperature control
  • Blood work to check on kidney function
  • Urinalysis to check urine color (as a brown color may indicate the destruction of muscle tissue)
  • Vomiting may be induced depending on the time of exposure
  • If significant time has passed, an enema may help retrieve hops further along in the GI tract

Prevention

Home-brewing and pets do not mix, especially if you choose to grow your own.  Animals get into everything, including the trash can if something smells particularly good.  They are very appealing to animals, (especially dogs), and there are far too many opportunities for pets to get into any hops on the property.  The risk just isn’t worth it. If you have animals, choose another hobby.

 

Hyacinth toxicity to pets

Hyacinths aren’t nearly as bad!

The good news about hyacinths is that they are nowhere near as deadly as hops. However, the bulbs of these plants can still cause some significant distress to animals who ingest them.

Hyacinth bulbs are thought to be similar to daffodil plants. This means that the “root” or bulb and seed of the plants are extremely irritating to the stomach and intestinal tract.  With appropriate treatment, an exposure is typically not life-threatening.

Signs

Signs are related to the irritating chemical in hyacinths (mainly the bulb of the plant), and tend to be focused on the stomach and intestines:

  • Vomiting (possibly bloody)
  • Diarrhea (possibly bloody)
  • Heavy drooling
  • Stomach discomfort or pain
  • Oral irritation or redness
  • Dehydration or electrolyte imbalances from profuse vomiting and diarrhea
  • Obstruction from the ingestion of large amounts of plant material

Treatment

Treatments will vary, depending on the amount of the plant that was ingested, and which part of the plant was swallowed.  A vet or animal poison control center should be contacted, but minor exposures may be managed at home with direction from a vet.  In more severe cases, additional treatments may be required:

  • Stomach protectants to reduce the irritation/bleeding in the stomach or intestines.
  • IV fluids or electrolyte replacements from repeated bouts of vomiting.
  • Surgical removal of any material causing an obstruction.

Prevention

While hyacinths are not nearly as bad as some of the more toxic ones (such as hops), it’s still not the best choice in a home with dogs that like to dig up plants and munch on the roots. If these are going to be in the yard, make an effort to fence them off, or place them in off-the-ground containers that pets cannot easily reach.

If you’re of the mind that it’s better to be safe than sorry, check out the list of non-toxic plants at the ASPCA to find a less-harmful flower to plant in your yard.

 

Next up are the I’s!

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