Anthurium are beautiful flowering plants which is why they are popular in homes. But if you own pets, it is important to check beforehand whether the anthurium plant is toxic to cats and dogs or not? This way you can decide if it is the right plant for you and if any what measures do you need to take.
Is anthurium toxic to cats and dogs? Yes, this plant is toxic to both cats and dogs. But they are only poisonous when ingested. Therefore, holding or touching the plant is not harmful to humans or pets. That said, when chewed or consumed, the anthurium can cause oral pain and irritation. It can also cause other digestive tract issues for pets.
Below, I’ll discuss in detail everything you need to know about anthurium toxicity to cats and dogs, including why they are toxic and what should do in case your pet ingests part of the plant.
Is Anthurium Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
Yes, the anthurium is toxic to cats and dogs.
In most cases, pets will just take a small nibble of the plant which rarely causes a lot of problems. However, if they are bored or hungry, they can consume a lot of the plant.
The latter is often rare because ingestion causes intense pain and irritation. Therefore, very soon after they chew or swallow parts of the plant, they will feel these symptoms.
As such, it will make them stop eating more.
However, that’s not always the case. And when do consume a lot of the plant, this is when it becomes concerning for you as the plant owner since more serious problems can happen later on.
Why is the Anthurium Plant Poisonous to Cats & Dogs?
The anthurium is toxic because it contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals.
While the plant is safe to touch or hold, once it is ingested, the crystals are released. These crystals are like very tiny sharp needles that pierce everything from your pet’s lips to touch and even stomach lining.
Therefore, they will feel a sudden pain and irritation that keeps getting worse the more they chew and consume the plant.
The more they swallow the more pain it will cause as the crystals will make their way down to the GI tract and into the stomach. Internal organs tend to be more sensitive so the crystals piercing the lining not only increases pain but also spreads the pain from the mouth to the throat and stomach as well.
To give you an idea, calcium oxalates are salt compounds. And they are the major components of kidney stones. Thus, the same structure is responsible for causing pain with people who have kidney stones.
In addition, the anthurium’s sap is also an irritant.
Since sap is released when parts of the plant is broken, it will follow the route of the rest of the plant parts through your dog’s or cat’s system.
Symptoms of Anthurium Poisoning in Dogs and Cats
When it comes to anthurium poisoning, there is a wide range of symptoms that can appear.
But because the calcium oxalate crystals become active when ingested, it is usually your mouth and throat areas what produce the most common symptoms.
- Pain in the mouth region
- Mouth or tongue irritation
- Swelling of the mouth and lipts
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
Or course, there are other side effects as well, these include:
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Dilated eye
If you notice your pet or child have these symptoms, immediately check on the plant to see if there is any damage.
Tears or missing portions of the leaves, flowers, bracts or stems will likely mean that they’ve ingested parts of the plant.
As such, you want to treat them for anthurium poisoning immediately.
What Parts of the Anthurium are Toxic?
Unfortunately, the entire anthurium is toxic. This means that you, your kids or pets should avoid to accidentally ingest any part of the plant.
Of course, since the most prominent parts of the plant are its leaves, flowers, bracts and stems, there parts are the ones that are more like to be chews, ingested or consumed, especially by pest.
However, the fruits, bark, seeds and roots are all likewise toxic to people and pets.
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Diagnosis of Anthurium Poisoning in Pets
Diagnosing for anthurium toxicity may be simple and straightforward or a bit more complicated. A lot depends on whether or not you saw your pet consume the plant.
If you witnessed it happen, then the diagnosis is instant since there is no guessing needed.
Symptoms are usually almost immediate once your cat or dog chew or ingest parts of the plant.
Thus, if you’re somewhere around the vicinity, you may hear them make a sound due to the pain and immediate irritation.
This gives you a chance to see them chewing some of the remnants in their mouths.
However, if you were not home or did not witness the actual ingestion, immediately check the plant. If your dog or cat was alone at home and there’s damaged to the leaves or flowers, then that makes them the only culprit.
You can easily link their symptoms to see if they match anthurium toxicity.
Another concerning matter is if they happened to consume a lot of the plant. You can tell by how much of the plant is missing.
In both cases, your veterinarian will likely tell you to bring your dog or cat in for a more thorough check up.
When you get to their office, try to brief them on as many details as possible. This will help the vet figure out if it is anthurium poisoning, how bad the symptoms are and their course of action.
The more questions and uncertainties you have. the more general the treatment your vet will start with.
In all likelihood, your veterinarian will take a few blood tests.
If your pet is vomiting, the vet will also examine what they’ve thrown up to look for parts of the plant.
Treatment of Anthurium Poisoning
Once a diagnosis is made, immediate treatment needs to take place.
The first thing to do is to rinse their mouth and oral cavity as well as the around it. The goal here is to try to remove as many crystals as possible.
The sooner you rise their mouth and the more thorough you are at removing the particles, the more likely you’ll be able to most of them out.
Doing so will reduce the symptoms and likewise decrease recovery time.
In most cases, your dog or cat won’t be able to consume a lot of the anthurium plant.
That’s because the moment the leaves, stems or flowers get chewed, calcium oxalate crystals hit their oral region and saliva like tiny sharp needles which piece the tissues in the tongue, lips and inner oral area.
The pain prevents your pet from eating more.
It also can cause them to stop chewing or swallowing most of what they got into their mouth.
Thus, if you catch your cat or dog in the act, you may still remove some of the plant parts from their mouths.
All these reduce how much your pet will ultimately consume.
Getting to your pet early will allow most of the contents to only reach their mouths, rising thoroughly may be able to remove most of the anthurium poisoning.
After rinsing, contact your veterinarian immediately.
They may or may not tell you to bring your pet it for a more thorough examination.
In the meantime, give your pet something cool to drink or eat. This will help soothe the pain. If your dog or cat is in quite a bit of pain, your veterinarian may give them a pain reliever to ease this.
If your dog or cat happened to consume a good amount of the plant, make sure to bring it to the veterinarian’s office.
They may need IV fluids and antihistamines The vet may also use certain mediations to prevent damage to the stomach lining
The more of the plant your pet consumes, the bigger the risk of breathing difficulty, liver and kidney damage. As such, if they ate a few good chunks out of your anthurium, your veterinarian will closely monitor your cat and dog.
Anthurium Poisoning Recovery & Prognonsis
The prognosis for anthurium poisoning in dogs and cats is very good. And they should be able to fully recover in time.
That said, it takes about 24 hours from the time of ingestion for the calcium oxalate crystals to dissipate from their systems.
That said some symptoms will linger for days. The most concerning of these is swelling of the airways which not only causes difficulty breathing but can limit oxygen to the point your cat or dog cannot breathe.
If this happens, make sure to notify your veterinarian. They will likely administer something to reduce or manage the swelling.
While the experience can be very stressful for you and your pet, the thing about the calcium oxalate crystals is that they are like microscopic needs that pierce parts of your pets’ oral cavity upon entry.
Thus, the initial pain and irritation will cause them to stop consuming more of the plant.
This prevents them from ingesting large amount of the plant and therefore, the calcium oxalate crystals.
The reason is in big doses, they can cause more serious damage to your cat or dog.
Excess consumption can lead to kidney and liver damage which will need the vet to treat and monitor.