Watch out for poisonous Karaka berries when dog walking.

Please keep an eye out for the karaka berries. These are dangerous to dogs and over the summer months they seem to be everywhere. Very poisonous.

The Karaka trees are native to New Zealand and grow in coastal and lowland forest and also in most areas around the Auckland area, even dog parks! In summer they bear heavy loads of orange berries. Within each berry is a seed containing a lethal toxin known as Karakin.

They come in all sorts of varied colours like yellows and even during the development stage have husks on the outside., so take note of the shape and the look of the tree.

If you see your pet chewing or eating a karaka berry, it is vital to take your dog straight to the vet.

Your pet may not show any immediate symptoms, but it is still imperative medical attention is sought straight away.

Within the first 1-2 hours of ingesting the berries, the veterinarian can induce vomiting. If successfully expelled from the system, generally no further treatment is required.

Symptoms can be numerous and varied.

They can range from gastrointestinal – vomiting and diarrhoea to severe neurological signs – weakness, paralysis, seizures, even death.

Unfortunately there is no antidote. Once symptoms develop, intensive supportive care is commenced.

While waiting for results, giving your dog the best chance of survival. Treatment may include intravenous fluids, antibiotics, antacids, anti-nausea medication, pain relief, enemas, activated charcoal, sedation and/or muscle relaxant medication for example.  Some dogs can take weeks to recover fully.

It is unfortunate that these are throughout our parks, so the only thing we can do is to be educated on what they look like and to watch out for them in the summer months from January to April.



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