Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TOXIC! Tomatoes, potatoes, and more...

Little did I know that my useless information would come in handy yesterday.  When my fiancé called me to tell me that he had to go to the store to buy another tomato seedling because one of the dogs ate one, I shrugged it off.  Then I remembered reading something online that said tomato plants were highly toxic to pets (and people, too!)  I called my fiancé back and told him, and I told him not to leave the house until I had spoken to our Veterinarian.

I immediately called our Veterinarian's office.  The Tech asked the Veterinarian who said, "they should be fine," but they were calling animal poison control.  Less than five minutes later, the Tech called me back with the Veterinarian standing nearby.  Her cheerful voice was grave and wavering as she said, "We contacted animal poison control, and yes, tomato plants are toxic.  You need to induce vomiting immediately with a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide.  If that doesn't work, wait five minutes, and administer again.  If THAT doesn't work, wait another five minutes, and administer the hydrogen peroxide one last time.  If there is still no vomiting, your dogs need to come in ASAP or to a Veterinarian closer to you.  The problem with tomato plants is it contains a toxin called solamine, and the main effect of solamine is a drop in heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, CNS problems, and rapid absorption and death.  Even if your dogs vomit, you need to closely monitor their heart rates and breathing, or bring them to the Veterinarian."

I called my fiancé back, and I told him what the Veterinarian had said.

Flooded with tears, I left work, and I headed home to help my fiancé.  The dogs had thrown up in the yard (no tomato plant pieces which means *hopefully* that they decided to shred the plant instead of eat the plant.) We checked their active heart rate and respirations and their resting heart rate and respirations and continued to do so on the hour for the next several hours. 

They seemed okay last night as well as this morning (heart rate and respiration normal - no diarrhea, no vomiting, no loss of coordination.) 

My PSA is that tomato plants are toxic to pets and humans.  Keep tomato plants out of reach of pets and small children, and after handling tomato plants or gardening around them, wash your hands thoroughly, and prevent children from sticking their hands or fingers in their mouths until their hands are washed.

Tomato plants are in the nightshade family. Other plants in the nightshade family include potatoes, sweet and hot peppers, eggplant, tomatillos, paprika, cayenne, and tabasco sauce. 

For additional information on nightshade plants, please visit

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