In a recent article posted by the Vet Times, the dangers of conker ingestion has been highlighted. Seven-year-old Monty the black Labrador swallowed the conker during a morning walk, and within hours became sick and unable to hold down water. Rushed initially to the vets after collapsing, he required surgery to remove the obstruction, which had caused damage to his small intestine and abdomen cavity. Monty developed post-surgery complications, including cardiac arrhythmia and aspirational pneumonia, so he was admitted as an emergency to an intensive care unit.

Thankfully, after a couple of weeks he gained strength and no longer needed the feeding tube, and to his owner’s delight he was discharged. “He is now enjoying his normal life as if nothing had ever happened.”

The poisonous principle of conkers (seeds of the Aesculus hippocastanum tree) is generally described as aesculin (or esculin). Vomiting is the most common clinical effect (more than three quarters of symptomatic dogs).  Other signs include abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea, lethargy, ataxia, hyperthermia, depression and tremor. Obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract, as seen in Monty’s case, is one of the less common risks of ingesting conkers.

The full article can be found here.