What is Alocasia (Elephant Ear) Poisoning?
The elephant ear plant is a houseplant with giant pointed leaves that look like elephant ears. This plant may be nice to look at, but it can be toxic to your dog. In fact, it can even be fatal if not treated right away. If your dog eats any part of the elephant ear plant, the first symptom you will see is also the deadliest; a swollen airway leading to inability to breathe. To help with this problem, you can rinse your dog’s mouth out with cold water on a washcloth. Clean any plant residue from your dog’s face and rinse out his eyes, but do not induce vomiting unless the veterinarian tells you to do so. The liquid inside of the leaves and stalk is also an irritant to your dog’s skin as well as the thorns. This can cause skin pain, redness, itching, and redness.
Alocasia poisoning is caused by the elephant ear plant, which contains an insoluble calcium oxalate acid. The calcium oxalate has crystals that leech into the tissues of your dog’s skin and mouth which causes injury to your dog’s mouth. The immediate signs of alocasia poisoning are pawing at the face and mouth, vomiting, foaming, and drooling. The swelling of the mouth, tongue, and upper airway can produce breathing trouble and difficulty in swallowing. This can be lethal for your dog quickly if you do not get immediate medical help. Your dog can also get a toxic reaction of the skin and eyes from the liquid or oils inside the leaves and stalk, and puncture wounds from the thorns.
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Symptoms of Alocasia (Elephant Ear) Poisoning in Dogs
The symptoms of alocasia poisoning from ingestion or skin contact with the elephant ear plant can happen quite fast and include:
- Burning skin pain
- Eye irritation
- Inflammation of the skin
- Redness, pain, and burning of the eyes
- Skin irritation and redness
- Tearing eyes
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Eye pain
- Lack of appetite
- Lip swelling
- Mouth pain
- Mouth ulcers
- Numb mouth
- Red eyes
- Severe burning in the mouth and throat
- Sore throat
- Swelling of the tongue and mouth can cause difficulty in breathing
- Tongue pain
- Watery eyes
- Topical alocasia poisoning is caused by the exposure of your dog’s skin to the oils or liquid in the leaves, stalk, or roots of the elephant ear plant
- It can also be caused by being stuck by a thorn from the elephant ear
- Oral alocasia poisoning happens if your dog eats any part of the elephant ear plant, including the leaves, root, and stalk
Causes of Alocasia (Elephant Ear) Poisoning in Dogs
There are two ways for your dog to get alocasia poisoning. Exposure of the skin (topical) and ingestion (oral) of the elephant ear plant.
- Oils or liquid inside the elephant ear plant
- Puncture wound from the thorns
Diagnosis of Alocasia (Elephant Ear) Poisoning in Dogs
If you witnessed your dog eating an elephant ear plant, bring the plant with you to show the veterinarian. This will help with diagnosis, which is mostly based on your information, such as what part of the plant your dog ate, how much, and what time it happened. Be sure to let the veterinarian know of any symptoms you have already noticed as well. A thorough physical examination will be done, which includes abdominal palpation, body temperature, height, weight, reflexes, blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen level. Make sure the veterinarian also knows your dog’s medical history, including vaccinations, past illnesses and injuries, and abnormal behavior or appetite.
Blood tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemical profile, blood gases, and glucose test will be done. A urinalysis is another test that is helpful in diagnosing alocasia poisoning because the elephant ear contains asparagine, which increases protein levels. Some images of your dog’s abdomen will be taken with radiographs (x-rays) and an ultrasound to help see the contents of your dog’s stomach.
Treatment of Alocasia (Elephant Ear) Poisoning in Dogs
The treatment will depend on how much your dog has eaten and how long ago it happened. If diarrhea and vomiting are present, the veterinarian will administer IV fluids to flush the toxins from your dog’s system. They will also monitor your dog’s vital signs, which includes body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respirations, and oxygen level. Antiemetics will be given through your dog’s IV to control vomiting. Depending on your dog’s overall health and condition, the veterinarian may decide to keep him in the hospital overnight for observation.
Recovery of Alocasia (Elephant Ear) Poisoning in Dogs
Once your dog is allowed to go home, prepare a safe and quiet place for him to relax for at least one more day. It is preferable to keep your dog caged overnight to prevent overexertion. Your veterinarian may put your dog on a special bland diet until his digestive system is back to normal, so be sure to follow those directions and provide plenty of fresh water at all times. To prevent this from happening in the future, be sure to keep poisonous plants and medications out of your dog’s reach.
Alocasia (Elephant Ear) Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Last night my 7 yr. old Border Collie found a pretty juicy 3" stem that I inadvertently left on the floor after I cut it back. She didn't eat it but obviously chewed on it for a minute. She has vomited 3 times, twice a good amount. She scratched at the door to get outside to do her business tonight (which she has never done before!) so I assume she has diarrhea. Has turned down food all day and night. Hope to see an improvement tomorrow of off to the vet I guess. Will keep a close eye on her all night. :(
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My 3,year old pit bull got part of a elephant ear bulb from a dormant mushy bulb that was thrown into the yard by me after I cleaned old leaves out of the pot they grow in. I noticed that he started to drool, cough, and almost throw up. I thought he was choking and immediately tried to remove anything from his mouth. There was nothing in his mouth. I have washed his mouth out with a wet wash rag and I pushed water into his mouth with a large syringe. He now seems to be kinda lethargic not his normal self but is walk at the moment in front yard. What can I do to help him. And will he recover from this. He is just like one of my children I will do what ever is necessary to help him.
I caught my dog eating dried elephant ears no symptoms
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My 6 week old puppy chewed on an elephant ear leaf but he didn't swallow or ingest anything. His mouth doesn't look swollen and I rinsed it out and wiped around his face but I'm nervous especially since he's just a puppy. It just happened so he hasn't had diarrhea or vomiting but I just want to make sure he's okay.
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