Dear veterinary clients of mine shared a story of how an acquaintance of theirs lost both of her dogs to castor bean poisoning here in the Inland Empire. Every dog owner is sensitive to poinsettias, mistletoe, yesterday, today, and tomorrow and lily toxic plants but few know that here in our home area is a plant far more toxic- the castor bean plant. The toxin in the fruit bean of this plant is the most toxic chemical known to man, ricin,-the very toxin dust mailed to our last two presidents and other members of congress by radicals on both sides of the political spectrum.
The Castor Bean Plant
As you can see by the picture, the castor bean is a lovely plant that has become a staple of landscaping in southern California homes. It has also become a very common plant in our wilderness and hiking areas. Originally it was cultivated to produce Castor Oil, a potent constipation remedy. The pods of this beautiful plant emit an odor that is very attractive to animals, especially dogs. The pods contain a bean that the animals readily eat. Only 8 beans are lethal to a medium-sized dog.
Symptoms and Treatment of Castor Bean Toxicity
Symptoms of mild exposure are generally loss of appetite, excessive thirst, vomiting, and diarrhea 12-48 hours after eating the beans. Trembling, loss of coordination, seizures, coma, and death can follow for dogs eating the toxic quantity of beans.
There is no antidote for ricin and supportive care with intravenous fluids is the only option for dogs ingesting sub-lethal doses of the beans.
Castor bean plants are a staple plant in our SoCal landscaping, wilderness, and recreational trails. Make sure your pet is leashed on all excursions to avoid ingestion of castor beans or other toxic or unsafe materials.
If you are too far away to see Dr. Tudor in person, but still wish to make your own balanced dog food at home using Dr. Tudor's exclusive nutrient powder, omega 3 oil and recipes, we now offer two options for you:Healthier Homemade for Dogs
When you need or want custom recipes that are personalized for your fur family, our sister site Healthier Homemade can help you out. Because this service is remote, we are unable to give medical advice or diagnosis, so we work with your veterinarian to make sure your fur family is well cared for.
At Healthier Homemade, we offer Medical Recipe Programs for 14 different conditions. See them in detail here.
There are an assortment of recipe formulations for dogs with diagnosed Food Allergies. They include, High Protein, Instant, and Economy options.
If you have all Normal Adult Dogs in your fur family and wish to have more control over the formulations of your recipes, we offer Economy, Instant, High Protein, and Ultra-High Protein (including a few all meat options).
With all of our custom recipes you may include up to 4 dogs (with the same health profile) and you may choose cooking frequency from every day to once a week. We do all the math, we even calculate serving size for each dog! We also have detailed tutorials for each step of cooking, mixing, and storing.
If you are an experienced cook, like flexibility, have a normal adult dog, and just need general guidelines, Hearthstone may be right for you. Before purchasing a Starter Kit, you can see a complete list of ingredient options that can be used.
Our EZ Meal Planner gives you a great starting point. You still get to pick out wholesome ingredients at the grocery store and you still get "The Well Dog Nutrient Powder" to make sure your dogs' meals are balanced.
The Getting Started page gives you a great road map for what you need to equip your kitchen, preparation, transitioning to a new food, and more.