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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Ginseng is widely available as a constituent of many alternative "health" products and accidental ingestion by animals, or over zealous deliberate administration to animals can occur.

The active ingredients in ginseng are saponins and these are reported to have various effects in the body :

  • Decrease blood glucose
  • Decrease liver cholesterol
  • Increase erythropoiesis
  • Increase haemoglobin production
  • Increase iron absorption from the intestinal tract
  • Increase blood pressure
  • Increase heart rate
  • Increase gastrointestinal tract motility
  • Stimulates the brain resulting in seizures

Toxicity only occurs when large amounts are ingested, but there is no specific antidote. Treatment is symptomatic - maintain airways and supplemental oxygen, treat hypoglycaemia or hypertension.


Updated October 2013