A dog has died after eating a plant from the Irish Sea that washed up onto a beach in the United Kingdom, The Mirror reports. 

The plant is a hemlock-water dropwort, also known as dead man’s fingers, and can even kill a cow. Perhaps the most poisonous plant indigenous to Britain, all parts of the plant are toxic and it’s killed both humans and animals in the past. 

A Poisonous Plant Warning

After one pet died and another was severely ill in Cornwall, the RSPCA issued a warning to dog parents. 

It is known to be highly toxic to dogs and can cause convulsions and may be fatal,” they said. “We’d always advise owners to be observant when out walking with their dog.”

After a number of cases of the plant poisoning dogs on Irish beaches in 2018, veterinarian James Buick said: “If your dog scavenges and eats everything, it would be best to stay on a lead when around the beach”.

In the United States, the plant isn’t particularly common, but can be found across the country in wet meadows, soils, and along the banks of streams. 

If you think that your dog may have ingested hemlock-water dropwort, treat it as a medical emergency and get treatment as soon as possible. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear if you can help it, as it can be just a few minutes from symptom onset to severe poisoning. 

Symptoms To Check For

However, it’s still useful to be aware of the following symptoms:

  • Cardiac dysfunction
  • Panting
  • Muscle twitching, tremors, convulsions, seizures
  • Salivation and frothing of the mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Dilated pupils and eyes rolling back
  • Abdominal pain and vomiting
  • Stiff limbs
  • Head and neck twisting
  • Coma and death

Unfortunately, survival from hemlock-water poisoning is relatively rare, because the poison works so fast. However, there have been cases of successful treatment, so it’s vital to act fast. 

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