What is Ivy Arum Poisoning?
Ivy arum is a climbing ivy plant that is a member of the Araceae, or Arum, family. This beautiful ivy originated in the southeastern parts of Asia and has a very similar look to the philodendron. The waxy and glossy leaves have a heart -like shape and are a light to emerald green hue. The coloration of the leaves have a mix of a pale shade of yellow and sometimes a darker yellow and ivory color. This plant is very hardy and grows very rapidly in many weather conditions.
Many people prefer the look of a climbing ivy plant on their property or around the home. The look of spreading, climbing ivy along the house or along lattice is quite striking to many. Many homeowners also like having potted ivy plants adorn their homes indoors. Although beautiful, this ivy is very toxic to dogs when eaten, as it contains calcium oxalates which will cause immediate symptoms of distress in dogs.
Other plants which contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals and have highly similar signs of toxicity are the calla lily, philodendron, umbrella plant, Chinese evergreen, elephant’s ear, dumbcane, and dieffenbachia. Each of these plants should be avoided by owners of dogs.
Ivy arum poisoning in dogs occurs when dogs ingest all or part of this climbing Ivy plant. Toxic principles include calcium oxalate crystals which lead to immediate symptoms of distress.
Book First Walk Free!
Symptoms of Ivy Arum Poisoning in Dogs
Ivy arum toxicity is quite serious, as this climbing vine contains insoluble calcium oxalates. Symptoms of Ivy arum poisoning include:
- Swelling of the mouth and face
- Difficulty swallowing
- Severe agitation
- Shaking of the head
Ivy Arum is a climbing vine that has a similar look to many other non-toxic vines. It is important to know the other names of this plant, especially if you own a dog or other small animal. Other names for Ivy Arum are:
- Devil’s ivy
- Golden pothos
- Taro vine
Causes of Ivy Arum Poisoning in Dogs
Causes of ivy arum toxicity begin with the consumption of any part of the plant. Even chewing on one leaf can cause symptoms. Specific reasoning behind the toxicity of ivy arum includes:
- The containment of calcium oxalates
- The calcium oxalates have very sharp crystals, known as raphides
- Raphides are needle sharp and penetrate the tissue upon contact
- Raphides release a strong histamine, which causes an allergic reaction
Diagnosis of Ivy Arum Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog has eaten ivy arum, take him to the veterinarian immediately. The toxic substances in this plant can be quite severe, especially if your dog took more than one bite and ingested the plant. Your dog may dog vomit on his own, and the veterinarian may want to test the contents for plant particles. Try to take a sample to the appointment with you. If you know your dog has eaten ivy arum it is very important to tell the veterinarian all you know about the incident to help him with a rapid diagnosis and to treat the dog quickly.
The veterinarian will look at your dog’s vital signs, and perform blood work, a urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile. The physician will be taking a closer look at elevations of blood urea nitrogen, and a rise in creatinine, potassium, and phosphorus. These all are symptoms of poisoning by the plant. Elevations of the enzymes may also occur, and hypoglycemia may occur as well.
In the urine, the veterinarian will be checking to see any higher than normal amounts of protein, glucose, and any renal damage, along with crystals in the urine produced by the kidneys. Severe reactions from the calcium oxalate crystals will result in renal tubular cell abnormalities. All of the symptoms usually develop within 8 to 12 hours after eating any plant with calcium oxalate crystals.
Treatment of Ivy Arum Poisoning in Dogs
In severe cases of ivy arum consumption, kidney failure can occur in your dog and he may need to be euthanized. This happens in very severe cases of poisoning, but if immediate treatment has been found then your dog may survive. This solely depends on the amount of time it took for treatment to begin and the level of toxicity in the dog’s system. Treatment methods consist of:
Removal of Toxic Plant Particles
The veterinarian will want to rapidly and thoroughly remove any plant particles from the mouth and mouth area that the plant injected after chewing. The raphides are tiny and needle-sharp; they are quite excruciating to your dog.
If your dog is having difficulty breathing or is exhibiting signs of asphyxiation due to swelling from the raphides, the veterinarian may administer a tube in the esophagus. Your dog will also need to be given oxygen therapy while this is conducted.
If your dog has not already self-vomited, the physician will want to induce vomiting to help rid the dog of the toxins. Activated charcoal will be administered after emesis in order to help stop or reduce the absorption from the stomach.
IV fluids are very important in the treatment of dogs that have been poisoned with calcium oxalate crystals. Diuresis will allow for proper excretion of urine through the kidneys and keep your dog hydrated.
Recovery of Ivy Arum Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog received treatment within 8 to12 hours, the prognosis is fair to good. Your pet may need to stay overnight or be hospitalized for quite some time depending on the level of toxicity. The veterinarian will determine how long he needs to stay in the hospital in order to recover.
If your dog is able to go home, you will have specific instructions to follow in order to care for your companion. Since this toxicity is severe, it will be very important for you to monitor your dog fully and to follow your veterinarian’s advice.
A special diet may be needed for your dog in order for his gastrointestinal tract to heal if it was affected by the toxic agents of the plant. He may prescribe a dog food for him or give you a list of foods that he may eat. Continue to monitor your dog’s eating and drinking, and if you see any new symptoms arise do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian.
Rest will also be important. Avoid rough play and a lot of outdoor time with your dog and encourage him to relax. His body will still be healing, and the physician will want to see him for additional visits to check on his progress, and may want to continue to monitor his kidneys and liver through blood testing and other tests.