Plums are one of the most nutritious fruits out there. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as an addition of antioxidants and high fiber content. However, although plums are healthy to consume for humans, it is fatal for our canine friends.
Plum poisoning occurs when a dog ingests plums. In this article, you will learn the causes of plum poisoning and how to manage it to secure your dog’s safety.
What Is Plum Poisoning?
Plums usually grow on small trees and large shrubs. The plant itself produces white flowers similar to apple blossoms, and its size varies around six inches. The fruit’s color ranges from yellow to black depending on its ripeness.
The fruit contains a pit in the middle that releases hydrogen cyanide, prunasin, toxins, cyanogen, and amygdalin. It is not advisable for humans to ingest the plum seed, but consuming it is less likely to cause any damage. However, the spread of the toxins from the pit to the dog’s bloodstream is harmful.
Hydrogen cyanide is a chemical compound that is toxic to dogs. It causes gastric irritations and even respiratory distress upon eating it.
What Does Plum Do To Your Dogs?
The flesh of the plum is not that harmful to dogs, but the sugar content is high, so it is not the best choice for our furry buddies to snack on. The pit is the main culprit of plum poisoning. Aside from its toxin contents, the sharp shards when broken down or chewed can damage the stomach lining, intestines, and esophagus. Both big dogs and small dogs can suffer from this condition.
The chemical compounds found in the pit and what they do to a dog’s body is:
Amygdalin is a form of cyanide, and it slows down the body’s enzymes. These enzymes are an essential component in transporting oxygenated blood to the organs.
It is the most potent toxin known, and it acts quickly upon ingestion.
Prunasin is a precursor of cyanide. It is also responsible for slowing down enzymes which are essential to body functions.
- Hydrogen cyanide
It comes from cyanogenic glycosides when broken down.
Plum Poisoning Symptoms
Plum contains high contents of hydrogen cyanide from roots to leaves. This amount of hydrogen cyanide is severely fatal for dogs. If plum poisoning is not immediately treated, it can end up in respiratory collapse.
The most common symptoms to help you recognize if your dog is suffering from plum poisoning are:
- Red mouth, tongue, and gums
- Difficulty in breathing
- Dilated pupils
- Heavy panting
- Rapid breathing
- Mouth foaming
- Suddenly collapsing
- Dizziness and fainting
- Inability to breathe
Failing to recognize these symptoms will cause serious problems in the long run. In worse cases, it can also cause death. It is important to pay attention to your dog if you are aware that they consumed plum. As much as possible, don’t wait for things to get serious and bring them to the closest veterinarian in your area.
Plum poisoning is a quick process, so you need to bring your dog to a veterinarian right away. Even if you are only suspecting the condition, you have to act fast. Waiting for the symptoms to get serious will only cause life-threatening problems.
A professional will be able to confirm the condition by looking into their gums. If the surface is red, it is more likely due to excessive oxygenated blood caused by cyanide. They will also conduct a physical test to determine if there are underlying problems. The tests include checking the vital signs, reflexes, abdominal palpitation, weight, and oxygen level.
Your doctor can also conduct other laboratory tests. These are blood urea nitrogen (BUN), packed cell volume (PCV), complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis, and serum biochemical profile to determine elevated amino acids and ammonia that confirms cyanide poisoning.
Plum Poisoning Treatment
After confirming that your dog is experiencing plum poisoning, the priority is to remove the toxins out of the body before it reaches the liver. Upon reaching the brain, it can also cause seizures and end up in a more serious condition.
The treatment usually includes:
With the detoxification process, the vet will administer sodium nitrite or methylene blue through IV. This will trigger the formation of methemoglobin in the blood. The cyanide and the methemoglobin will create cyanmethemoglobin. This compound will remove the contents of cyanide in the bloodstream.
If this process doesn’t work, they can also use thiosulfate. This compound promotes rhodanese-catalyzed thiocyanide formation and getting rid of cyanide.
After detoxification, the dog will stay in the hospital for at least 24 hours. The doctors will check their condition and immediately treat complications if it occurs. They will also track the oxygen levels and provide for their needs during recovery.
The recovery period may vary depending on the amount of plum your dog has consumed. The sooner you were able to get immediate treatment for your pup, the recovery will be faster as well.
If the case is severe, your pet may spend days in confinement for monitoring. This will also allow them to get the adequate amount of rest they need before going home.
To avoid this complication, it’s best to keep your dogs from fruits with pits and any toxic food in general. Always try to be cautious in the foods they eat and research what is bad for their health.
Alternative Sources of Vitamins and Minerals
Plums are a good source of vitamins that helps the body in fighting diseases. However, because of its harmful effects on dogs, you should avoid incorporating this into their diet.
The good news is that there are many alternatives to choose from. Your pup can still get the necessary nutrients they need for a healthier body.
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A handles keeping the vision healthy and maintaining the immune system. It also helps in keeping organs functioning right.
Foods that contain vitamin A are spinach, pumpkin, liver, fish oil, turnip, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin D
The main use of vitamin D is protecting the bones, calcium absorption, and keeping the heart and muscles healthy. The body can produce this vitamin with sunlight, but it is also possible to get these from nutritious foods.
Foods that contain vitamin D are egg yolks, beef, dairy products, cottage cheese, marine fish oil, and fatty fish.
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the cells from damage due to free radicals and developing cancer cells.
Foods that contain vitamin E are leafy vegetables, wheat, grains, plant oils, and seeds.
- Vitamin K
Vitamin K helps the wounds to heal, and it also helps flesh to regenerate through blood clotting.
Foods that contain vitamin K are cabbage, milk, and fish.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant. Besides that, it helps in keeping the immune system healthy to fight various diseases.
Foods that contain vitamin C are citrus fruits, potatoes, leafy vegetables, and pepper.
- Vitamin B
The main purpose of vitamin B is to ensure that every cell in the body is functioning. It manages metabolism and creates new blood cells. It also makes sure that the tissues in the skin, brain, and other organs are all healthy.
Foods that contain vitamin B grains, beans, spirulina nuts, dairy products, and brewers yeast.
Your pooches can also get different minerals from other food, so make sure to include nutritious ingredients in their diet.
Many foods look harmless and tasty but can be poisonous to your dogs. One of these is plum, so it’s best to avoid this fruit.
There are still many options you can try as a treat for your pets that won’t put them in danger. If you’re not sure which specific foods are safe for dogs, you can always consult a veterinarian and they will give you the best options out there.