There is a recently recognised disease in the Hungarian Vizsla. It is a breed associated presentation of Polymyositis. The principal clinical signs are

  • swallowing problems
  • regurgitation
  • excessive foamy drooling and
  • muscle wasting (especially around the head)

Visit the polymyositis page


Algae (Blue Green)
Seen on lakes and ponds in summer- highly toxic –fatalities recorded.

Azalea or Rhododendron
Gastric upset-dog may salivate excessively, become weak, in extreme cases depression of central nervous system, heart failure and coma if treatment delayed. Principal toxin:- Grayantoxin.

Asparagus Fern
Can affect heart, kidneys and liver. Can cause vomiting and abdominal pain. Sometimes a tremor can be seen affecting head body and limbs.

Gastric upset – vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain. Central Nervous System depression causing lethargy. Excessive salivation tremors loss of appetite, without treatment dog may go into shock, coma.
Principal toxin: – Lycorine.

Autumn Crocus
Gastric upset- bloody vomiting, diarrhoea, depression of Central Nervous System dog maybe hyperactive then lethargic. Can suppress bone marrow. Multi organ damage. If left untreated can result in coma and death.
Principal toxin- Colchicine

Apple Leaves & Stem
If enough ingested signs are inflammation of mouth in particular the gums. Rapid breathing and dilated pupils. If untreated the dog may go into shock.

American Yew & Western Yew
Causes abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea
(See English Yew)

Apricot Seeds
Vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Affects stomach causing vomiting and diarrhoea, breathing may be rapid and laboured, can accumulate round heart. Can cause death.
Principle toxin- Persin

Aloe Vera
If consumed in large quantities will cause diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of appetite, depression, tremors and change colour of urine.
Principle toxin- Saponins

Apple Leaf Croton
Can cause liver and kidney failure due to toxin contained in the plant. Severe gastric irritation especially the lining of the bowel – can cause ruptures in the bowel due to inflammation. The heart can be affected due to bleeding into its tissues. Can prove fatal.
Principle toxin- Ricin.

Angels Trumpets
Vomiting and diarrhoea.

Varied effect on dogs if eaten in quantities.

Vomiting and diarrhoea & abdominal pain

Bleeding Heart (Dicentra Spectabilis)
Needs fairly large quantities to be poisonous however the plant can cause dermatitis and contains a substance that can cause the dog to fit.
Toxic component- Isoquinoline.

Vomiting & diarrhoea

Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia Gillesii)
Diarrhoea, vomiting and loss of coordination.
Principal Toxin- Hydrocyanic Acid.

Blue Bell
Poisonous if large quantities eaten.

Bella Donna (Deadly Nightshade)
Excessive salivation, severe diarrhoea and vomiting, depression of the Central Nervous System, drowsy, confused, weak, dilated pupils and slow heart rate.
Principal Toxins- Salanine & Saponis.

Excessive salivation, vomiting & diarrhoea. Berries are of low toxicity but with all poisons its how much is digested and size of dog.

Conkers (Horse Chestnut)
If eaten whole may cause obstruction. Signs of gut obstruction- Abdominal tenderness, unsteady gait, refuses to eat & salivation all may appear within a few hours of swallowing conker.

Christmas Cherry (Solanium)
Low toxicity- but can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.

Calla Lily (Zantedexhia Aethiopiea)
Causes irritation in the mouth and intense burning, diarrhoea & vomiting, difficulty in swallowing, tremors may be seen with loss of balance; in some cases it can prove fatal.
Principal Toxin- Calcium Oxalate Crystals.

As for Calla Lily above.

Diarrhoea & vomiting, Central Nervous System can be affected by plant toxins. May become confused; mouth ulcers maybe present.
Principal Toxin- Protoanemonin

Cuban Laurel
Diarrhoea & vomiting.

Christmas Rose (Helleborus Niger)
Diarrhoea which may be bloody & vomiting, dog can become disorientated and confused; may have seizures.
Principal Toxin- Veratrin

Diarrhoea & vomiting, can cause dermatitis. There have been some fatalities.
Highest concentration of toxins at root level.
Principle Toxin- Cyclamide.

Cherry (Stems & Leaves)
Gums can become very inflamed, pupils may be dilated, signs of shock maybe apparent, breathing may be rapid.

Daffodil (Flower & Bulbs)
Diarrhoea & vomiting, weakness may have seizures. 15g of bulbs can be fatal. Heart can be affected and Central Nervous System depressed; may have excessive salivation.

Diarrhoea & vomiting, toxins may affect kidneys can also cause dermatitis.
Principal Toxin- Coumarin Glycosides.

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia)
Will cause intense irritation in the mouth; can cause asphyxiation if mouth & throat swell, other symptoms may be seizures, muscle weakness, loss of coordination; ultimately death if large quantities ingested and go untreated.
Principal Toxin- Calcium Oxalate Crystals.

Dutchman’s Britches (Dicentra)
Can cause dermatitis, is poisonous in large amounts, contains a convulsant.
Principal Toxin- Isoquinoline.

Devils Ivy (Epipremnum Aureum)
Diarrhoea & vomiting, causes irritation to mouth and throat – burning sensation and inflammation. Excessive salivation. Tremors maybe present with seizures. Asphyxiation may happen if swelling of throat severe.
Principal Toxin- Calcium Oxalate Crystals.

Elephants Ears (Caladium Hortulanum)
Causes Irritation in the mouth, excessive salavation, burning and possible swelling of tongue and throat. If this happens real possibility of death through asphyxia
Principal Toxin- Calcium Oxalate Crystals.

Easter Lily(Lilium Longiflorum)
Diarrhoea & Vomiting, Weakness and possibly kidney failure.
Toxin- Unknown

English Ivy (Hedera Helix)
Diarrhoea & Vomiting, may present with fever and thirst the breathing maybe laboured, pupils maybe dilated. There maybe excessive salivation and they may appear weak and uncoordinated.
Principal Toxin- Hederagenin.

English Yew
The dog may appear uncoordinated have a dry mouth and dilated pupils (mydriasis) within 1 hour of ingestion. May have abdominal pain and salavation with vomiting. The leaves are more toxic than the berries.
Death can be very sudden and without symptoms.

Egg Plant
Diarrhoea & vomiting, may appear lethargic. Can present with heart failure.

Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis)
Diarrhoea & vomiting. Plant may contain toxic levels of Nitrates.

Ergot (Claviceps Purpurea)
Reacts on the muscle of the uterus- therefore if eaten can cause abortion if bitch in whelp

Foxglove (Digitalis Purpurea)
Diarrhoea & vomiting, may cause loss of balance and tremors eventually if left untreated; collapse due to heart failure and death if left untreated.
Principal Toxin- Cardiac Glycosides.

Fiddle Leaf Fig (Fiscus Lyrata)
Diarrhoea & vomiting may cause dermatitis or skin irritation.

Depends on type for reaction. Always take sample of others growing nearby if you saw dog eating them. So they can be identified.

Giant Burdock (Artium Lappa)
The burrs get stuck to the coat of the animal – they have hooks on them and penetrate the tongue as the dog tries to lick them off. Can penetrate the lining of the mouth. Causes extreme discomfort & Irritation. We should always remove if on coat.
The discomfort produces excessive salavation.

German Primula
Can cause nausea and vomiting, irritation to skin.

Holly Berries
Quick onset of symptoms within 3 hours of ingestion. Salavation, vomiting loss of balance and tremors possible seizures.

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina Domestica)
Vomiting Diarrhoea, pale mucous membranes in mouth may have cyanosis (blue tinge) present, seizures, may have lung congestion going on to respiratory failure, semi coma; fatal if not treated.
Principal Toxin- Cyanogenic Glycosides.

Diarrhoea & vomiting; animal becomes lethargic.

Hydrangea (Hydrangea Macrophylla)
Vomiting & depression of Central Nervous System, increase in heart rate and temperature, can suffer loss of balance and loss of appetite.
Principle Toxin- Cyanogenic Glycosides.

Hyacinth (Hyacinthus Orientalis)
Intense vomiting & diarrhoea which may have blood in it. Lethargy and tremors.
Principal Toxin- Possibly strong Alkaloids.

Vomiting & Diarrhoea both of which may have blood in them. Excessive salivation and abdominal pain.

Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum Psudocapsicum)
Can cause dermatitis, severe diarrhoea & vomiting can cause ulceration of stomach and bowel, may have seizures and go into shock.
Principal Toxins- Solanine, nitrates.

Jimsons Weed ( Datura Stramonium)
Can cause dermatitis, sight maybe affected, confusion and abnormal thirst.
Principle Toxin- Strong alkaloids.

Vomiting & diarrhoea animal can be lethargic or hyperactive, may appear weak with tremors and seizures the heart can be affected producing irregular rhythms; if left untreated can be fatal.
Principal Toxins- Narcissine, Narcipoeitin, Lycorineh.

Can cause respiratory failure weakness and seizures can occur.

Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema supp)
Causes burning in the mouth; can also be hallucinogenic.
Principal Toxin- Calcium Oxalate Crystals.

Causes gastrointestinal irritation, affects the heart rate and rhythm due to its toxins.
Principal toxin- Bufodienalidis.

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria Majalis)
Gastric upset; dog may also appear confused due to strong glycosides in plant – will affect the rhythm of the heart and can be fatal.
Principal Toxins- Convallarin & Convallatoxin.

Leyland Cypress
At worst skin irritation.

Gastric upset, dog may appear nervous, heart can be affected by alkaloids in plant. Can cause dermatitis.

Mistletoe ( Phoradendron Spp)
Leaves & stems carry the most toxins however a few berries can prove fatal to a puppy. Has hallucinogenic properties. Affects the heart and lungs by slowing the systems down.
Principal Toxins- Toxalbumin, Pharatoxin,Viscumin.

Morning Glory (Ipomoea Spp)
Can cause diarrhoea, seeds can cause hallucinations.
Principal Toxin- Lysergic Acid.

Oleander (Nerium Oleander)
Diarrhoea & Vomiting, can lethargic or very excitable, the heart can be affected by powerful glycosides in the plant. Body temperature can drop and be fatal can also cause dermatitis.
Principal Toxins- Cardiac Glycosides, Nerioside, Oleandroside, Oleandrin.

Pytracantha- Rowan or Mountain Ash.
Vomiting Diarrhoea and excessive salavation.

May cause diarrhoea & vomiting. Abdominal pain. If sap gets into eyes it is an irritant. (Irrigate with water- but still seek veterinary help as soon as possible)
Can cause confusion.
Principle Toxin- Euphorbin.

Types:- Horse Head & Heartleaf
Saddle Leaf, Lacy Tree, Split Leaf.
All cause diarrhoea and burning sensation in the mouth. Can cause dermatitis if touched.
Principle Toxin- Calcium Oxalate Crystals.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
Vomiting, excessive salavation intense burning to mouth lips and tongue. Difficulty in swallowing. If throat very inflamed- then can asphyxiate.
Principle toxin- Calcium Oxalate Crystals.

Peach Stones
Contain cyanide -harmful if eaten in quantities.

Vomiting & diarrhoea. Loss of balance, tremors and seizures. Dog may appear lethargic. Heart failure with collapse may happen and could be fatal.

As for Philodendron.

Plumosa Fern or Asparagus Fern ( Asparagus Plumosus)
Can cause dermatitis. If berries eaten can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.


Ragwort (Senecio Jacoboea)
This plant is reportable to DEFRA as it is extremely toxic to animals. Several dogs die every year by accidental ingestion of some of the plant when grazing grass or other herbs. Causes kidney failure and liver damage – both are irreversible. Small doses can be fatal as the plant contains very toxic alkaloids.
If you come across any they should be dug up and taken away and destroyed- do not leave them on the ground as when dry the toxins are stronger and grazing animals are more likely to ingest them. Humans are affected if the plant is eaten – it causes hepatic(liver) disease.

Vomiting, diarrhoea excessive salavation, weakness, low blood pressure, coma. Can cause cardiac collapse and death.
Principal Toxin- Grayantoxin.

Sago Palm (Cycas Revoluta)
All parts are poisonous- but seeds & nuts contain most toxins. 1-2 seeds eaten can cause serious problems. Diarrhoea, vomiting, depression of Central Nervous System. Can cause liver failure and seizures.
Principle Toxin- Cycasin.

Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera Deliciosa)
If cuttings taken the sap or water they were in if drunk will cause diarrhoea and vomiting. Causes intense irritation to mouth, tongue and throat and if inflammation present then breathing may be difficult.
Principal toxin- Calcium Oxalate Crystals.

Stinging Nettles & Spider Mum
Both cause urticaria if touched and can cause dermatitis.

Tomato Plants ( Lycopersicon Spp)
Excessive salivation, loss of appetite, severe diarrhoea and vomiting. Dog may appear drowsy and confused. Behaviour may change. Pupils maybe dilated heart rate slow and dog may appear weak.
Principal toxin- Solanine.

Intense vomiting & diarrhoea, loss of appetite, excessive salivation. Similar to daffodils.

Taro Vine (Scindapsus Aureus)
Diarrhoea & vomiting. Causes intense burning to mouth lips and tongue. Difficulty in swallowing. Caution needed if throat swells.
Principal toxin- Calcium Oxalate Crystals.

Umbrella Plant
Vomiting & diarrhoea,abdominal cramps. Can cause heart, lung and kidney problems. Tremors maybe seen.

Wild Cherry
Diarrhoea & vomiting, rapid breathing or gasping may be seen. May collapse due to release of cyanide held in one of its compounds.

Diarrhoea & vomiting. Excessive salavation and seizures.

Chocolate & Raisins are both very toxic to dogs – especially Raisins- fatalities have occurred with both.

All the above are for guides only as to which plants or substance are poisonous there are many more. If you suspect a pup or dog has ingested some of the plants, you should contact your vet for advice and if possible always take a sample of the plant etc for identification. Also try and ascertain how much has been eaten. It can hasten treatment if the vet knows the name of the plant as he will have access to a full poisons list. If you know of any more please let me know and I will add them to the list.

Sue Millson
KC Breed Health Coordinator.

Testicular cancer

Testicular cancer is relatively common in dogs. It only affects uncastrated males. It is seen more in older dogs but can affect dogs of any age. Testicular cancer is usually benign in dogs ( chances of metastasis between 5-15% -depending on the kind of cancer present.)

There are 3 kinds of testicular cancer – Sertoli cell, Seminoma and Intestitial cell. The treatment for all is identical – castration. Although cancers are unlikely to spread they do carry problems so should be removed – the testicle may swell (considerably in some cases) & cause discomfort or it may secrete female hormones and cause feminisation – hair loss, enlarged nipples, weight gain.

Cryptorchid males (those without 2 fully descended testicles in the scrotum) are more likely to develop testicular cancer and should be castrated as a routine befoe the age of 3-4yrs.The retained testicle(s) are 13 times more likely to develop cancer. It is too warm for testicles in or next to the body – they like to be a few degrees cooler in the scrotum. Cryptochid males should never be used for breeding as it is considered an inherited trait. I am not aware of cryptorchidism being a significant problem in the Vizsla.

Entire males should have their testicles routinely checked – just have a gentle feel around – they should be approximately even sized and a firm texture. In most testicles the knobbly vas deferens can be easily felt and is often mistaken for a lump – just have a good feel of the other one & if both are the same there is unlikely to be an abnormality. Sometimes the lump cannot be felt but you may notice the signs of feminisation – in which case seek the advise of your vet. Some entire males with prostate or anal gland problems may have excess testosterone which could be caused by neoplasia. Most vets will routinely check well behaved entire males during vaccination or clinical examinations – if you have any doubt just ask them have a feel!!

Testicular tumours are easily prevented through routine castration (I know – not a very popular suggestion to most breeders.) Dogs that are no longer used for breeding could be castrated and there are other advantages of castrating dogs that are never going to be used for breeding. (No testicular cancer and a massive reduction in the incidence of prostate problems, perineal hernias, anal adenomas and anal gland problems.)

Just remember to include a quick feel around the scrotum when checking your older boys.

Emma Faulkner BVetMed MRCVS

Immune mediated illnesses

See this page for more detail

Immune mediated diseases are not uncommon in the vizsla and the HVC asks all owners to report instances so that the conditions can continue to be monitored.This is important for the future health and well being of the breed.

The auto immune/immune mediated  illnesses that are described on the vizsla health website have all been known to present in the breed –  with an especial frequency for  atopy/allergies/intolerances, Polymyositis, Sebaceous Adenitis, Polyarthritis and Steroid Responsive Meningitis/Arteritis. Immune Mediated Haemolytic Anaemia and Thrombocytopaenia also seem to be over represented.

A breed specific presentation of Vizsla Polymyositis has only recently been recognised and there is more information here

Autoimmune disease is multi-factorial, meaning several things must happen for an individual to become ill. A trigger is always required and this is something that is also being investigated

If your vizsla suffers from an immune related disorder please complete this online questionnaire in respect of ALL vizslas that you know to have had a problem. The further back in time that we can go then the more useful the information will be

It is vital for the future wellbeing of the Hungarian Vizsla that people are honest and forthcoming. Please help if you can. Everybody has a chance to make a difference. Even  tiny bits of information will contribute to the biggest understanding of how we might help our vizslas stay healthy.

Confidentiality is assured. Please make contact if advice is needed

This survey in to immune mediated disease is separate from and additional to the general health surveys conducted by Sue Millson – our breed health coordinator

See this page for more detail

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is an inherited orthopaedic problem of dogs and a wide number of other mammals. Abnormal development of the structures that make up the hip joint leads to subsequent joint deformity. ‘Dysplasia’ means abnormal growth. The developmental changes appear first and because they are related to growth, they are termed primary changes. Subsequently these changes may lead to excessive wear and tear. The secondary changes may be referred to as (osteo)arthritis (OA), (osteo)arthrosis or degenerative joint disease (DJD). Later one or both hip joints may become mechanically defective. At this stage the joint(s) may be painful and cause lameness. In extreme cases the dog may find movement very difficult and may suffer considerably. The British Veterinary Association publish a very good information leaflet:

It was in the light of this knowledge that the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Kennel Club (KC) developed a scheme some 40 years ago to assess the degree of hip deformity of dogs using radiography. Your Veterinary surgeon takes an x-ray of your dog’s hips in a particular position which is then examined by a panel of experts. All radiographs submitted to the BVA/KC Hip Dysplasia Scheme are ‘scored’. The hip score is the sum of the points accrued for each of nine radiographic features in each hip joint. The lower the score the less the degree of HD present. The minimum (best) score for each hip is zero and the maximum (worst) is 53, giving a range for the total score of 0 to 106.

Full details of the scheme can be found at the BVA orthe Kennel Club.

In addition, Di Addicott mainains the extremely useful resource of a list of all Hungarian Vizsla Hip Scores:

The Hungarian Vizsla Club Code of Best Practice requires Vizsla owners to hip score all their breeding stock. The current breed average can be found here.

As at the 1st November, the breed average for the Hungarian Vizsla was 12.


Along with other breeds vizslas may suffer from seizures/epilepsy. Dr Claire Rusbridge at Fitzpatricks Referrals provides this great information

Here is a video

Epilepsy is thought to be genetic with a complicated mode of inheritance. As part of a research project into a number of inheritable diseases the Animal Health Trust are currently asking owners to supply DNA samples from their epilepsy affected dogs in the hope that these might help to establish the genetics pattern of the disease. Cheek swab kits are available from Bryan McLaughlin at the AHT. The process is very simple and the only cost involved is postage back to the AHT. This project is completely anonymous – and you can read more about it here
Please also inform our breed health coordinator if your dog suffers from seizures/epilepsy

Vizsla health

Over the years the Hungarian Vizsla has been considered to be a healthy breed. Responsible breeders adhere to a code of conduct which requires that they breed only from individuals that are of good temperament, physically sound, health tested and free from known hereditary diseases.
Historically this approach has seemed to work well and most vizslas live a long, strong, happy and healthy life. Recently though there is evidence to suggest that there may be some health issues in which the vizsla is over represented – and the HVC is keen to monitor these.
The Kennel Club recently contacted health coordinators in all breeds to establish what each thought were their principal concerns. The HVC responded that in the UK vizsla these were believed to be

1.Cancers  – especially haemangiosarcoma (common) and lymphoma
2. Epilepsy and Seizures
3. Autoimmune/Immune Mediated illness – to date at least 16 conditions have been documented in the UK vizsla..  Those most frequently encountered are Atopy/Allergies, Polymyositis, Sebaceous Adenitis and Steroid Responsive Meningitis/Arteritis. Also Immune Mediated Haemolytic Anaemia and Thrombocytopaenia are being frequently reported
4. Hip Dysplasia
5. Glaucoma – more cases are being reported (already schedule B)

To enhance understanding of existing and emerging problems all vizsla owners are asked to complete the breed health survey. It is vital for the future wellbeing of the Hungarian Vizsla that breeders and owners are honest and forthcoming about any problems that they have experienced.
In addition –here in the UK – there are currently three research areas in which we are seeking owner participation:

1. Epilepsy
2. Polymyositis
3. Immune mediated illnesses

Please follow the menu links to find out more.
The HVC health co-ordinator is Sue Millson:
Telephone: 01892 834178
or contact by email