Avocado Poisoned Rabbit Shows How This Fruit Can Be Dangerous To Pets This Holiday And Beyond
Cinco de Mayo festivities typically consist of food and drinks like tequila, tacos, and guacamole, the delicious salsa made with avocado. However, it’s important to note that this fruit and its leaves are highly toxic to many animals, including rabbits, birds, and large animals like cows, goats, and sheep, according to Pet Poison Helpline.1 Also, if the avocado pit is swallowed, it can cause foreign body obstruction in the esophagus, stomach, or intestinal tract.
“Avocados contain a chemical called persin, but only certain species of animals are poisoned by this fungicidal toxin present in avocados,” said Renee Schmid, DVM, DABT, DABVT, a senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline, in a statement from the organization.1
“In rabbits, persin can cause significant damage to the heart muscle, leading to cardiovascular abnormalities, including arrhythmias, as well as fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion), fluid buildup in the lungs (pulmonary edema), and respiratory distress. “These abnormalities can cause rapid death. Fortunately, for those of us who like guacamole, persin does not have the same effect on humans,” he added.
Several years ago, Andrew and Emma Simpson of Tonawanda, New York planted an avocado pit that has since grown into a tree. Unfortunately, this plant ended up poisoning her recently adopted rabbit named Skunk.
“We planted an avocado pit a few years ago and it has grown into a sapling,” Simpson, Skunk’s owner, said in the statement. “Skunk, who we rescued, is our first rabbit and he gets into everything. We had him for about 3 weeks when he decided to go exploring and found the avocado tree. When we realized that it had eaten a part of the leaf, we googled it and found that the leaves are the most poisonous part of the plant. That’s when we started calling the vets.”1
Simpson called several local veterinary hospitals to find one that treated exotic pets, Enchanted Mountains Urgent Veterinary Care in Olean, New York. During their search for this hospital, another practice suggested they contact the Pet Poison Helpline, which in the meantime began working on Skunk’s case.
“I thought, great, we’ve only had Skunk 3 weeks and we’ve already killed him,” Simpson added. “Luckily, when Skunk arrived at the hospital, the medical team was already in contact with the toxicology experts at the Pet Poison Helpline. They immediately treated him with activated charcoal and brought him home the same day.”
The quick action Skunk’s owners took to get him treated likely prevented him from experiencing more serious signs that would have required more aggressive care.
Hide that guacamole this Cinco de Mayo if you have a pet rabbit. Press release. Helpline for poisoned pets. May 3, 2023. Accessed May 3, 2023. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hide-that-guacamole-this-cinco-de-mayo-if-you-have-a- pet-rabbit-301813722.html