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Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions

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BRIEF: Could you give me more information on oleander?


QUESTION:
I would really like more information on Oleander Poisoning.

ANSWER:

Oleander contains a cardiac glycoside that is lethal to most vertebrates. It strengthens the force of heart contraction and lengthens diastole. The symptoms are irregular heartbeat, convulsions, tremors and death. I don't know the toxic dose for a llama, but I don't imagine it would take too many leaves to knock it down. The lethal dose for cattle and horses is thought to be 0.005% of body weight.For a 300 pound llama, that would be about one quarter of an ounce of leaves a little less than an ounce for a horse big enough to carry me comfortably. A little goes a long ways. The antibody against one of the digitalis glycosides produced commercially for the biotech industry and used as an antidote for foxglove poisoning also works to rescue dogs that eat oleander.
QUESTION:
My neighbor has recently planted oleander next to my llama pen (intentionally).

ANSWER:

The last thing in the world I want to do is interfere in neighborly relations, so I would suggest backing that pen away from the bush (you don't want an animal pen near a property line anyway), or if local custom and property law allows and the neighbor consents, trim the oleander back to the property line and landfill the leaves. Cooperation will save llamas, horses and bushes.