What is Dumbcane Poisoning?
The dumbcane is a hardy plant that does well in warmer temperatures and tolerates indirect sunlight, making it a great indoor plant. It is also a bright vibrant green color which makes it a nice addition to any room to brighten it up. Despite all of the good qualities, this plant remains toxic to those who chew on it or ingest it. Do not let your dog around this plant, especially if he likes to chew on foliage.
Symptoms of poisoning by the dumbcane plant include injury and inflammation of the tongue, throat, and lips. Blindness and respiratory distress may also be experienced. Due to the seriousness of the effects of poisoning, many dogs will require hospitalization if exposed to dumbcane.
The dumbcane is a plant commonly found indoors due to its easy care regimen. What people do not realize is this plant is toxic to people and pets that ingest it. Contact your veterinary clinic if you suspect your pet consumed any part of the dumbcane plant.
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Symptoms of Dumbcane Poisoning in Dogs
The symptoms of this plant toxin set in as soon as one bite is taken. The intensity of the symptoms will depend on how much your dog consumed. Symptoms include:
- Immediate pain of the mouth
- Burning of the mouth
- Inflammation of the mouth
- Inflammation of the throat
- Inflammation of the lips
- Loss of appetite
- Tongue extended out of mouth
- Foaming at the mouth
- Head shaking
- Eye irritation or blindness if contacts the eyes
- Pawing at the mouth
- Respiratory issues
- Difficulty swallowing
There are many different species of the dumbcane plant. This plant belongs to the Araceae family and to the genus Dieffenbachia. This plant can vary in size and the colors differ depending on which species you have. All of the plants in this genus are equally toxic no matter what the species.
Causes of Dumbcane Poisoning in Dogs
The dumbcane plant belongs to the Araceae family and contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals called raphides. These crystals are insoluble and penetrate the tissue leading to injury. Every piece of this plant is lethal, including the sap alone, so keeping your pet away from this plant is important to his well being.
Diagnosis of Dumbcane Poisoning in Dogs
When you arrive at your veterinarian the team will likely start with a physical examination, though this will depend on the amount of stress and pain your dog is in. Observation of your pet and his behavior will give the veterinarian a proper look at your pet’s condition and symptoms, and will indicate if vitals are abnormal. Blood work will likely be run to see how your dog is doing internally. A complete blood count (CBC) and a chemistry panel will give the veterinarian information about how your dog’s body is handling the toxin and what therapeutic steps need to be taken. If you saw or think your dog ate or chewed on a part of this plant, take a piece of it with you to the veterinarian’s office. This will allow the veterinarian to know exactly what the dog came into contact with and enable her to identify the plant.
Treatment of Dumbcane Poisoning in Dogs
Your dog will be started on supportive therapies to help stop the symptoms. The veterinarian may try to flush out your dog’s mouth in an attempt to wash off the toxins. In addition, she will flush the eyes if they have become irritated, and your dog will likely be put on intravenous fluids to help correct or prevent any dehydration that may develop. If your dog is having difficulty breathing, the veterinarian will put him on oxygen support, either by flow-by or in an oxygen cage. If your dog is having a severe reaction whereby his tongue and throat have become swollen and are causing breathing difficulties, the veterinarian may need to intubate your pet and keep your dog on oxygen via intubation until the swelling subsides, and he is able to breathe better on his own.
Recovery of Dumbcane Poisoning in Dogs
The toxicity of the dumbcane plant may be considered mild to moderate depending on how much your dog has ingested. If your pet chewed on a small piece of the plant, symptoms of toxicity will occur but should not be lethal. However, if your dog chewed on the plant for quite some time or even swallowed a portion of it, symptoms will be more pronounced and dangerous. The sooner you seek professional medical help for your pet, the higher his chances of a successful recovery. Do not wait until symptoms progress and your dog is struggling, take him to the veterinarian as soon as you suspect or see that he has eaten the dumbcane plant.
While this plant is easy to take care of making it convenient for decorating your home, it is not worth risking your dog’s health in order to decorate with it. Even dogs that normally do not chew on plants may decide to take a nibble of this one, leading to lethal consequences. If you do have this plant in your home, keep it on a counter or bookcase out of your pet’s reach. Keep it high enough off the ground so that if your dog is on his hind legs, he still cannot access it. Be sure it is on a broad enough surface so that fallen and wilted leaves will not land somewhere within your pet’s reach. If you have this plant outside, be sure your pet does not have access to the area it is in. Educate yourself about the any of the plants you choose to purchase for your home.
Dumbcane Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
2 yr old female ate some of the leaves of dumcane plant. She is vomiting and diarrhea. Drinking plenty but not eating and very mellow, resting a lot. Comes when called and alert but not as active. This happened yesterday
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I think my dog ate a few leaves of my dumb cane plant. Should I take her to the vet? She’s drooling a bit (drops, not strings) and keeps asking to go outside. We found some vomited leaves in the corner of the house this morning.
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