Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Plant poisoning: calcium oxalate

Synonym(s): Insoluble oxalate poisoning

Contributor(s): Rosalind Dalefield, Patricia Talcott

Introduction

  • A number of plants, including many popular house plants, contain insoluble, needle-like crystals of calcium oxalate which can cause severe irritation of the mouth and pharynx.
  • Plants include Elephants ear (AlocasiaorCaladiumorXanthsoma), Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), Flamingo plant (Anthurium), Wild calla (Calla), dumbcane (Dieffenbachia), philodendron (Philodendron Philodendron ) split-leaf philodendron = fruit salad plant (Monstera), Peace lily (Spathiphyllum), skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), Devils ivy (Pothos,Epipremnum=Scindapsus), Cuckoo pint (Arum maculatum), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestrum), Calla or arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica).

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Needle-like crystals of calcium oxalate penetrateing the mucosa of the mouth and pharynx. Some of these plants, such as Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia Dieffenbachia spp (Leopard lily) ), also contain proteolytic enzymes which trigger the release of histamine and kinins, increasing the inflammatory response.

Predisposing factors

General
  • Access to plants; the plant may be a recent introduction into the household and thus be a novelty to a pet.
  • Boredom, stress or anxiety may be factors.

Timecourse

  • Onset is rapid; immediately or within 2 hours.
  • Most dogs recover fully within 24 hours.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

Other sources of information

  • Plumlee K H (ed) (2004) Clinical Veterinary Toxicology. Mosby.
  • Osweiler G D (1996) Toxicology. Williams and Wilkins.

Organisation(s)


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