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Oleander Poisoning

Nerium Intoxication

Oleander poisoning occurs from eating the oleander plant (Nerium oleander), or its relative, yellow oleander (Thevetia peruviana). Oleander is an attractive evergreen shrub that is commonly found in gardens and landscapes due to its beautiful (usually pink) showy flowers. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions, and grows in the wild in many parts of Texas, Arizona, Nevada and California. It is sold at nurseries during the spring and summer months throughout most of the Unites States.

Oleander is one of the leading causes of poisoning cases in animals. All parts of oleander are toxic. It contains several powerful cardiac glycosides that are found in the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds and fruit as well as sap, plant nectar and even water in which oleander leaves have been floating. Eating just a single leaf can kill an adult horse. Birds only need to take a bite of a leaf to kill them.

Clinical Signs

Depression
Paresis
Incoordination
Diarrhea
Restlessness
Weakness
Recumbency
Sudden death

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Blood test
  • liquid chromatography mass spectrometry analysis of biological fluids

Treatment

NameSummary
Activated charcoal
Hospitalization and supportive care

Prevention

  • Do not keep oleander in the same area where birds are kept
  • Learn to identify Oleander and keep birds far away from it.

Prognosis

Poor

Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Keeping oleander in areas where birds have access

Seasonality

WinterSpringSummerAutumn