Hypoglycemia associated with oleander toxicity in a dog

J Med Toxicol. 2015 Mar;11(1):141-3. doi: 10.1007/s13181-014-0436-x.


Oleander poisoning typically results in cardiac arrhythmias, hyperkalemia, and gastrointestinal irritation, and can be fatal. Oleander extracts have also been studied experimentally as hypoglycemic agents. Here, we describe a dog with confirmed oleander toxicosis presenting with classical symptoms and also hypoglycemia. After excluding other likely causes of hypoglycemia, the finding was attributed to oleander toxicosis, which has not been previously reported in dogs. A 7-year-old female spayed Maltese was presented to the emergency service after ingesting oleander leaves. Toxicosis was confirmed by measurement of digoxin using a competitive binding immunoassay, patient level 0.7 ng/mL (0.9 nmol/L) 24-h post-ingestion. Clinical symptoms included vomiting, cardiac arrhythmia, mild hyperkalemia, and hypoglycemia. Treatment was successful with aggressive supportive care, and the dog was discharged from the hospital after 48 h and made a full recovery. This case reviews the presentation and treatment of oleander toxicity but also highlights possible effects of oleander on blood sugar in dogs. Hypoglycemia in this dog, attributed to oleander poisoning, is interesting as it supports experimental research into hypoglycemic properties of oleander extracts.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Inbred Strains
  • Combined Modality Therapy / veterinary
  • Cross Reactions
  • Digoxin / blood
  • Dog Diseases / blood
  • Dog Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Dog Diseases / physiopathology
  • Dog Diseases / therapy
  • Dogs
  • Emergency Treatment / veterinary
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Animal
  • Hypoglycemia / chemically induced
  • Hypoglycemia / etiology
  • Hypoglycemia / veterinary*
  • Immunoassay / veterinary
  • Nerium / toxicity*
  • Plant Leaves / toxicity*
  • Plant Poisoning / blood
  • Plant Poisoning / physiopathology
  • Plant Poisoning / therapy
  • Plant Poisoning / veterinary*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Digoxin