Oleander (Nerium oleander
) is a highly toxic ornamental evergreen shrub or small tree that is native to the Mediterranean region, Middle East and China. N. oleander
has dark gray-green, narrowly lanceolate, leathery leaves. If the stems are cut, they exude a sticky latex substance. It produces five-lobed, tubular flowers that are usually red or pink but can sometimes be white, cream, yellow or purple. It has follicles fruit that split along one side to release its seeds.
is a highly toxic plant. It contains several cardiac glycosides--the most toxic chemicals being oleandrin and neriine. Cardiac glycosides cause poisoning by inhibiting Na+/K+ ATPase. Bird's don't need to ingest very much to have fatal consequences. The most frequent source for oleander exposure in livestock is yard/garden clippings.
If signs do appear, there is usually a 2-5 hour delay from ingestion of the plant to apparent symptoms. Signs of poisoning may begin with diarrhea, excessive salivation, depression and loss of appetite and progresses to the development of cardiac signs such as bradycardiaor tachycardia, weak and irregular pulse, heart blocks, and arrhythmias.