Rapeseed is a bright-yellow flowering plant commonly grown in farmer’s fields in late spring until midsummer – it can cause a number of issues in dogs if ingested in large quantities
Image: Katielee Arrowsmith SWNS)
Dog owners are being urged to keep their pets away from a poisonous plant growing across the British countryside.
Rapeseed, also known as rape, or oilseed rape, is a bright-yellow flowering plant commonly grown in farmer’s fields in late spring.
Taking six to eight weeks to ripen, the plant grows until midsummer before being harvested and turned into vegetable oil and biodiesel.
The plant naturally contains appreciable amounts of erucic acid, making it toxic to dogs if ingested.
In extreme cases, it has the ability to cause haemolytic anaemia, blindness, digestive disorders, breathing problems and damage to the nervous system.
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But, according to the Blue Cross, a dog is more likely to suffer with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal tenderness, if they have ingested just a small amount.
A Dogs Trust spokesperson told Devon Live : “Our vet team have confirmed that many dogs may remain asymptomatic after coming into contact with rapeseed.
“However, if they ingest some, then they can develop gastrointestinal signs (vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal tenderness etc). Generally, these are mild in nature.
“There have also been reports about skin burns that rapeseed may cause. This cutaneous reaction appears to occur when a dog runs through fields of rapeseed and can be severe but does not happen to every dog and is fortunately very rare.
“Although some of the signs can occur, they are not common and owners should not be unduly alarmed.”
Despite serious reactions being “rare”, dog owners have been advised to either avoid farmer’s fields growing rapeseed, or keep their dogs on a leash when walking through them.
And if any owners are concerned about their dogs being in contact with or ingesting rapeseed, they should contact their vet immediately.
Dr Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com, said: “The truth is that if ingested in large quantities by dogs it has the potential to cause illness, mainly gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhoea.
“And in rare cases an individual dog may develop an allergy to it resulting in skin issues. But for the majority of sensible dogs who aren’t interested in eating it it will do no harm.
“My advice is the same when exercising any dog on farmland, keep them on a lead or under control and stick to paths, to avoid damaging crops, livestock and wildlife.”
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