'deadly' Mother In-laws Tongue

March 23rd, 2018 at 6:00 am EDT
Hello Friend,

A cheery Friday morning to you and your family :-)

Today's newsletter is actually about common toxic house plants- and would you believe there really is a plant called 'Mother In-laws Tongue'?

And surprise..it's poisonous..

In the vein of being prepared for emergencies, you *really* should have a copy of my book on Pet First Aid. This is a comprehensive manual which covers ALL the common dog and cat emergencies.

Your copy is here:

Top 5 indoor plants poisonous to dogs and cats
Source: dvm360

As spring and summer finally approach, so do the risks of dogs and cats being accidentally poisoned by potentially dangerous plants. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center outdoor and indoor plants represented almost 5% of the calls to ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in 2015. 

Here’s what you need to know to keep your pets safe.

The above plant is a Dieffenbachia


One of the most common plant poisonings in dogs and cats involves plants from the Araceae family. These common houseplants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals and typically include the Dieffenbachia genus of plants. Examples include philodendron, pothos, peace lily, calla lily, dumb cane, arrowhead vine, mother-inlaw’s tongue, sweetheart vine, devil’s ivy, umbrella plant and elephant ear. When dogs or cats chew into these plants, the insoluble crystals result in severe mouth pain. Signs of drooling, pawing at the mouth, swelling of the muzzle or lips and occasional vomiting can be seen. Thankfully, this poisonous plant—while commonly encountered—isn’t too dangerous, and simply offering some milk or yogurt to your dog or cat can help minimize the injury from the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. If signs continue or worsen, seek veterinary attention

This is the 'Mother In-laws Tongue'..also known as the 'Snake Plant'..

The English shamrock is a beautiful, popular houseplant. These houseplants contain soluble oxalate-containing plants, which are very different from insoluble oxalate plants. Other examples of this type of poisonous plant include rhubarb (leaves) and the tropical star fruit. While this is a rare cause of poisoning in dogs and cats, it can result in a life-threateningly low calcium concentration when ingested. It can also cause calcium oxalate crystals to form in the kidneys, resulting in acute kidney injury. Clinical signs of poisoning include drooling, not eating, vomiting, lethargy, tremors (from a low calcium concentration) and abnormal urination. If your dog or cat ingests this houseplant, visit a veterinarian for blood work and intravenous fluids.

This is the English Shamrock

You may have purchased this common and beautiful houseplant in a supermarket or gift store. The thick succulent leaves and beautiful bunches of small flowers, which come in pink, red, yellow, and more, can be very poisonous when ingested by cats and dogs as they contain cardiac glycosides. Signs of poisoning include gastrointestinal signs (nausea, drooling, vomiting), profound cardiovascular signs (a very slow or rapid heart rate, arrhythmias), electrolyte abnormalities (a high potassium concentration) or central nervous system signs (dilated pupils, tremors, seizures). Treatment includes decontamination, if appropriate, along with intravenous fluids, heart and blood pressure monitoring, heart medications and supportive care.

This is a Kalanchoe

This plant from the Dracaena species contains saponins. When ingested by dogs and cats, it can result in signs of gastroenteritis (vomiting, drooling and diarrhea), lethargy and dilated pupils. Thankfully, this plant poses a minor poisoning risk to your dog or cat, but it is still best to keep it out of reach.

The Corn Plant

You might be looking for a bit of color in the house during the spring and plant spring bulbs as houseplants. Certain spring bulbs (such as daffodils, hyacinth and tulips) can result in mild vomiting or diarrhea. With massive ingestions, the bulbs can get stuck in a dog’s stomach or intestines, causing a foreign body obstruction. Less commonly, with large ingestions, elevated heart and respiratory rates can occur. Rarely, low blood pressure and neurologic signs (tremors, seizures) can be seen. Thankfully, the greens and flowers are generally considered to be safe; it’s the bulb itself that is the most poisonous. Spring bulb poisonings can be easily treated with decontamination, fluid therapy and anti vomiting medication

Tulip flowers, and the toxic bulbs
Heal Your Pet At Home!

Best Wishes,

Dr Andrew Jones, DVM
P.S. Obviously any plant named after a Mother In-law's Tongue is best to avoid :-)

P.P.S.  Emergencies happen often- you should be capable to perform basic emergency care with your dog or cat. 

My book on Pet First Aid is a great resource..You'll learn exactly what you CAN and CAN'T do at home.

It's here:
DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. Dr Andrew Jones resigned from the College of Veterinarians of B.C. effective December 1 2010, meaning he cannot answer specific questions about your pet's medical issues or make specific medical recommendations for your pet.

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