Corkscrew willow trees, along with many other willow varieties, contain salicylate in their bark. Salicylate, the active ingredient in aspirin, can be beneficial for dogs when prescribed for arthritis or other painful conditions. However, in dosages higher than prescribed, salicylate can be toxic to dogs, even resulting in sudden death. Because of this, it is important to stop your dog from chewing or eating the bark on a corkscrew willow.
Symptoms of salicylate poisoning typically begin with loss of appetite. Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and intestinal bleeding. The toxin moves into the central nervous system, resulting in difficulty walking, loss of coordination, weakness, loss of consciousness and sudden death.
If you believe your dog has eaten bark from a corkscrew willow or other salicylate-containing product, contact your veterinarian immediately. The sooner treatment begins the better the prognosis will be, generally speaking. The veterinarian will induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to remove and absorb as much salicylate as possible. Fluids and other supportive care are will be administered as needed.