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Your Waldorf Veterinarian Explains Why Avocados are Toxic to Pets


Avocados contain persin, a fungicidal substance and toxin that seep into the flesh of avocados from its seeds. Because avocados have such low amounts of persin, they are safe for humans to eat. Only people who are allergic to persin or avocados, in general, may experience adverse effects. If your dog or cat munches on an avocado, don’t worry. There’s not enough persin in avocados to harm dogs or cats. Avocados are only poisonous to dogs or cats if they eat the avocado tree bark or the seeds or skin of an avocado. However, if you know your pet has eaten an avocado and are worried about your pet’s health, please bring your pet to our animal hospital in Waldorf for a complete medical check-up.

Avocado Poisoning in Birds, Rabbits and Farm Animals

Birds are extremely sensitive to persin and will suffer signs of poisoning if they eat avocados. Difficulty breathing, inability to perch, heart tissue damage, weakness, restlessness and disorganized plumage are symptoms of avocado poisoning in birds.

Rabbits should never eat avocado leaves. Jaw swelling, heart arrhythmia, and even death may occur when rabbits chew on avocado leaves.

Goats and cows eating the bark or leaves of an avocado tree may suffer reduced milk production and mastitis, an infection of breast tissue.

Horses eating avocados and any part of the avocado tree may experience colic, gastritis and/or mastitis.

Treatment for Avocado Poisoning in Pets

For pets with mastitis from eating avocado leaves/bark, your Waldorf veterinarian may prescribe analgesics to reduce discomfort. If an animal is diagnosed with congestive heart failure due to eating avocados, your vet could prescribe anti-arrhythmic medications to reduce heart swelling.

No antidote exists for birds suffering from avocado poisoning. Supportive care involving administration of intravenous fluids is the first line of treatment. Diluting persin in a bird’s body as quickly as possible is essential for reversing the effects of avocado poisoning in birds.

Your emergency hospital in Waldorf is open 24/7, every day of the year. Call or stop by anytime if you need the assistance of an emergency vet: (301) 705-9700.

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