What is Ceriman Poisoning?
The ceriman plant is commonly found indoors as a decorative plant due to its evergreen properties and easy care regimen. It is an aesthetically pleasing plant and brings a pop of color to a home or office. When ingested, your dog will immediately realize his mistake. The ceriman plant contains calcium oxalate crystals which cut the tissues in your dog’s mouth resulting in a burning sensation and pain. Toxicity of the ceriman plant may be considered mild to moderate, but prognosis of a full recovery is good.
The ceriman plant is an evergreen plant with glossy leaves, deep slits and oblong holes. If your pet ingests any part of this plant, he is likely to display symptoms of toxicity quickly. If you believe your dog ingested a part of the ceriman plant, you need to contact your veterinarian immediately.
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Symptoms of Ceriman Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of ceriman poisoning develop almost immediately after your dog chews on this plant. Symptoms include:
- Pawing at the mouth
- Irritation of the eyes
- Irritation of the mouth
- Irritation of the lips
- Irritation of the tongue
- Excessive drooling
- Foaming at the mouth
- Oral inflammation
- Difficulty swallowing
- Respiratory distress
The ceriman plant’s scientific name is Monstera deliciosa. It is native to Mexico and Central America but it is commonly found here indoors as a potted plant or as an evergreen ornamental outside. The ceriman plant is also known by its alternate names.
- Mexican breadfruit
- Swiss cheese plant
- Cutleaf philodendron
- Splitleaf philodendron
- Fruit Salad
- Hurricane plant
Causes of Ceriman Poisoning in Dogs
The ceriman plant produces insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. The crystal shape of the oxalates and their insolubility cause damage to the mouth. Instead of dissolving when coming into contact with the moisture of the mouth, it cuts the tissue and causes injury. This trait is what causes all the symptoms related to oral irritation.
Diagnosis of Ceriman Poisoning in Dogs
When you first arrive at the veterinarian’s office, she will begin by performing a physical exam on your dog. This will allow her to assess his symptoms and note any abnormalities of his vitals. If your dog is drooling excessively or displaying other symptoms of oral pain, the veterinarian will take special care when examining his mouth to note irritation and redness. If your dog vomits while at the clinic, the veterinarian will examine the contents for any evidence as to what he ingested.
Blood work will be performed to give the veterinarian a broad look as to how the internal organs are functioning. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with needed information for proper assessment. A packed cell volume (PCV) may also be performed to determine hydration status. If you suspect or witnessed your dog chewing on this plant, take a piece of it with you to the veterinarian clinic. This will allow for proper identification of the plant your dog consumed and the toxin it contains.
Treatment of Ceriman Poisoning in Dogs
For any type of oral pain, drooling, or foaming at the mouth, the veterinarian may attempt to wash out your dog’s mouth. This will rinse any remaining crystals from your dog’s mouth to prevent further damage. Your dog will be started on fluid therapy to flush the toxin from the body quicker and to correct and prevent dehydration.
If your dog is experiencing breathing difficulties, your veterinarian may start your dog on oxygen via flow-by or place him in an oxygen cage. If your dog is experiencing severe swelling, the veterinarian may have to intubate him and maintain oxygen administration via intubation until he stabilizes. An antihistamine will be administered to help decrease the swelling and you should begin to notice a decrease in swelling within 2 to 4 hours.
Recovery of Ceriman Poisoning in Dogs
Since most cases of ceriman poisoning are relatively mild, the prognosis for a full recovery is excellent. Once the oxalate crystals are rinsed from your dog’s mouth, no more injury should occur.
Educate yourself about the plants you have in and around your home. Many dogs do not disturb plants, but even the most well behaved dog can get curious. If you have this plant in your home, keep it at a height your dog cannot reach, even when standing on his hind legs. If you have this plant outside your home, keep it in an area your dog does not have access to and teach him to not chew on or ingest foliage.