Christmas should be a joyous time -- not a holiday you want to spend in the veterinary emergency hospital with your dog. That's where you could end up if you unknowingly festoon your home with hellebore, also known as the Christmas rose, and your canine pal consumes some of this plant.
While it's best known by nicknames, like the Easter rose and Lenten rose, hellebore's scientific name is Helleborus niger, and it's in the ranunculaceae family. Hellebore is an evergreen producing a few large, white flowers during its blooming season from December to April. The entire plant, roots and all, can cause a toxic reaction if a dog eats it. According to Pet Poison Helpline, hellebore contains poisonous glycosides and bufadienolides, both of which affect the heart.
Suspect hellebore poisoning if your dog experiences excessive salivation, appetite loss, vomiting, diarrhea or appears to suffer from abdominal pain. Affected dogs also become depressed and lethargic. The plant is also toxic to cats, with similar symptoms. Take your pet to the vet immediately for treatment.
Your vet will probably treat your dog by administering activated charcoal and atropine, a medication used to treat cardiac problems.
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