Ergot is another human medication that’s used widely. That means our dogs have a higher chance of being exposed to the medication.
It may happen that your dog is curious and starts chewing on a bottle of pills. The bottle may open ,and your fur baby then eats up the stuff inside! Or, if you have spilled medication, your dog’s nose may lead him to it. Before you know it, your canine has swallowed the medication right down! Accidents will happen! But what happens if a dog eats ergot?
Has your dog eaten ergot? Are you worried the ergot will make your dog sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog eats something like this.
We’ve put together some information about ergot and whether it can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!
What is Ergot?
Ergot is a medication made from a fungus called Claviceps purpurea. The fungus contaminates rye and wheat and then produces substances called ergotamines (which are alkaloids). Ergotamines work to constrict blood vessels and cause the uterus to contract. These medications have been used to stop bleeding after childbirth, heavy menstrual bleeding, and even to treat migraines.
While ergotamines can be helpful medications, too much of the drugs can cause hallucinations, severe GI problems, dry gangrene, and painful burning sensations in the limbs and extremities.
Ergotamines have a long history of use and have caused some major issues throughout human history. For instance, the Middle Ages saw chronic ergot poisoning caused by contaminated grains. And during the witch trials in the Salem in 1692, it’s thought ergotamines were responsible, too.
But what happens if a dog eats ergot?
Ergot & Dogs
Unfortunately, ergot is toxic for dogs. The medication causes constriction of the small arteries, which prevents thermoregulation and heat intolerance.
Dog may eat the medication or could also become sick from eating contaminated grass or grains.
Symptoms of Ergot Toxicity in Dogs
You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten ergot:
- Muscle tremors
- Uncoordinated movements
- Increased heart rate
- Increased body temperature
- Lack of appetite
If you notice these symptoms in your dog, call the vet immediately. This is an emergency.
Be sure to let the vet know how your dog was contaminated—either through medication or eating contaminated grass/grain. And let them know about what time this happened.
It’s possible your dog will need to be hospitalized after eating ergot. The vet may need to pump your dog’s stomach and give him activated charcoal. Your fur baby may also require an IV for fluids and to administer medications.
The good news is that most dogs will make a full recovery if they have prompt medical treatment. So, be sure to get your dog to the vet if he’s been poisoned by ergot. His life depends on it.