Toxic plants

Is Dog Hobble Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Dog Hobble Toxic To Cats?

Dog Hobble or also known for its other common names Dog Laurel, Fetter Bush, and Black Laurel is an evergreen shrub that is found to contain arbutin glucoside and grayanotoxins such as andromedotoxin, acetylandromedol, rhodotoxin, and asebotoxin. These toxins are harmful to cats as they inhibit sodium channels from deactivation and keep them positively charged by attaching to them in the body’s cells. This has a devastating impact on the cat’s body, which may result in cardiac arrest and respiratory failure.

What Is Dog Hobble?

Black laurel and a cat hissing at it

Dog hobble is a broadleaf, evergreen shrub from the Ericaceae plant family. Scientifically known as leucothoe, this plant is native to Asia and the Americas and is naturally found in very wet places such as ravines and streambanks. It grows around three to six feet tall and is frequently associated with Rhododendron maximum thickets.

Clinical Signs of Dog Hobble Poisoning in Cats

Cat sits near Black Laurel

The severity of symptoms experienced by a cat is determined by the amount of dog hobble consumed. While poisoning from dog hobble consumption is rare in cats, it can be deadly and should be treated with a genuine emergency. Small amounts of dog hobble may induce the following symptoms in your cat:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Perspiration around the nose and on foot pads
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Twitching
  • Tingling, or burning sensation in the extremities and around the mouth
  • Low blood pressure
  • Sinus bradycardia

Ingestion of large quantity of dog hobble may cause more adverse effects to cats such as:

  • Severe muscular weakness
  • Bradycardia
  • Ventricular tachycardia
  • Nodal rhythm or Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome
  • Coma
  • Death

First Aid and Treatment of Dog Hobble Poisoning in Cats

Fetterbush and cats

Supportive care and treatment of symptoms as they emerge are the best ways to help a cat survive dog hobble poisoning.

Antiemetics may be prescribed by the veterinarian to assist the cat stop vomiting. Intravenous fluids may also be used to help the cat’s body maintain its fluid volume. Throughout the treatment, the cat’s heartbeat should be checked. An IV injection of atropine may be given to help regulate the heart rate. Vasopressors can be also administered to constrict blood arteries and thereby raise blood pressure. If ingestion of dog hobble is just recent, administering activated charcoal to your cat can help bind the toxins in the stomach, and pass it through waste.

Recovery from Dog Hobble Poisoning in Cats

Grayanotoxins, such as those found in the dog hobble plant, are generally fatal to cats because of how quickly they shut down the body. Symptoms might last anywhere from a few hours to many days. If the cat survives the experience, the poisoning should have no long-term consequences.

Prevention of Dog Hobble Poisoning in Cats

If you live in an area where the dog hobble plant is common, keeping your cat indoors will limit your cat’s exposure to it. While removing the dog hobble shrub from your yard lessens the chances of your cat encountering it, it is still possible that your cat will come into touch with it in other gardens or outside. Learn about the plants that can endanger your cat so you will have an idea in case of an emergency.

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

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