Tramp's Close Brush with Tree Nettle

Tramp, a healthy, young working huntaway was out mustering with his owner when he suddenly began salivating and convulsing.  Thirty minutes earlier, Tramp had run through a patch of tree nettle (Ongaonga), a poisonous weed that is common in the South Island.  Tree nettle is one of New Zealand's most poisonous native plants.  It can cause neurological problems, respiratory distress and has been responsible for deaths in dogs, horses and one person.  Fortunately Tramp made it to the Veterinary Centre in the nick of time.  He was in severe shock and unresponsive on arrival and needed to be placed onto IV fluids and an induced coma overnight to stop his seizures.  He also received anti-histamine, steroids and antimine (an antidote) after his quick thinking vet, Luke recognized the symptoms of tree nettle toxicity.  Fortunately, Tramp responded very well to treatment and is now expected to make a full recovery.