Poisonous Plants for Dogs and Cats: Lantana
Lantana (Lantana camara), also called Shrub Verbena, Yellow Sage, and Red Sage, is a perineal flowering plant that is commonly used in landscaping. It grows wild in tropical regions of the US and other parts of the world. Unfortunately, all parts of this plant are toxic to dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, cattle, sheep, goats, and horses.
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What is Lantana?
The small, often multicolored flowers make it a favorite for landscaping. There are some newer varieties of Lantana that don’t produce berries. These are considered safer to have around pets and children. However, the leaves and flowers still contain toxins.
Wild Lantana (Abronia fragrans), also called Sand Verbena and Prairie Snowball, is a non-toxic type of lantana.
What Makes Lantana Toxic to Pets?
All parts of Lantana, including leaves, flowers, and especially the unripe berries, contain a toxin called pentacyclic triterpenoids. This substance, in small volumes, causes stomach upset. In larger volumes, it will damage the liver and result in an accumulation in phylloerythrin. The phylloerythrin levels can get so high it starts to accumulate in the skin causing sensitivity to light.
Clinical Symptoms of Lantana Toxicity in Pets
Dogs and cats tend to eat smaller amounts and develop mild clinical symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Large animals like cattle and horses may graze for days on lantana and ingest large amounts, resulting in more serious illness.
Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms tend to develop within 24 hours and resolve on their own or with supportive care like anti-nausea medications and anti-diarrheal medication. In cases where large amounts are ingested, again, most commonly in large animal species, the full effects may not be seen for weeks, such as the development of liver failure.
- Ataxia (staggering or abnormal movements)
- Labored/hard breathing
- Liver failure if large amounts ingested
- Photosensitization (light sensitivity) when large amounts are ingested (large animals)
What should I do if my dog eats Lantana?
If your dog or cat was chewing on lantana leaves, they may develop vomiting and diarrhea. If the symptoms resolve in 24 to 48 hours and your pet is eating and drinking and feeling good otherwise, monitoring them at home is a safe option. If the vomiting and diarrhea persist or your pet develops any of the other listed symptoms, take them to the vet immediately for supportive care.
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