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Marble queen, a member of the Araceae family, originated in southeastern Asia. Also called devil’s ivy, this is a climbing indoor plant that is very hardy. Many mistake this foliage for the philodendron. It does resemble the philodendron, as it does have waxy heart shaped leaves of the green hues with accents of yellow. Marble queen comes in a variety of appearances; some are tricolor with yellow, green, and white leaves, while others are green with a small amount of yellow or white coloring. Marble queen may be found in homes, businesses, schools, and hospitals to add a touch of greenery to the decor. Although this plant is quite beautiful with its climbing ivy, it should be kept out of reach of children and animals.
Marble queen is very similar to other calcium oxalate -containing poisonous plants. These crystals cause intense pain when dogs were children (or other pets) chew on the leaves. This calcium oxalates can cause a myriad of side effects that are very unpleasant. The poisonous crystals are contained in the leaves and the stems as well.
Marble queen poisoning in dogs is the result of dogs ingesting part or all of the marble queen plant. This toxic plant contains calcium oxalate crystals which cause intense pain and inflammation in dogs that ingest the leaves and stems.
As soon as your dog chews on the leaves and stems of marble queen, he will develop symptoms of pain. Symptoms of marble queen toxicity include:
Marble queen, also known as devil’s ivy and golden pothos, contains calcium oxalate crystals. Other toxic plants that contain calcium oxalate crystals include:
Causes of marble queen poisoning are due to the effects of the calcium oxalates crystals, known as raphides, within the plant. Raphides’ cause toxicity by:
If your dog has eaten marble queen, take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible. It is quite helpful to also take part of the plant with you so the veterinarian can make a faster diagnosis. The veterinarian will ask questions pertaining to the history of the ingestion of the plant, such as the quantity consumed and the time frame of consuming the plant to getting medical attention.
The veterinarian will then perform specific tests, such as a complete blood count, blood gas test, biochemistry profile, and electrolyte and blood urea nitrogen levels. The veterinarian will be paying attention to the increased levels of electrolytes and blood urea nitrogen, as they are a result of marble queen (calcium oxalate) poisoning.
The veterinarian will also examine the levels of calcium, proteins, creatinine, and potassium. Within a urine test, the veterinarian will take a closer look at amylase, lipase, and glucose levels. He may also decide to perform an endoscopy to get a closer look at your dog’s upper airway and esophagus. He will be looking for particles of the plant or any of the raphides that may have penetrated these areas and caused any labored breathing or swallowing.
If your dog has eaten a large portion of this plant, the veterinarian will want to do abdominal x-rays to look inside your dog’s stomach, as well as the intestinal tract, to check for particles and any inflammation caused by the raphides. If the abdominal x-rays do not show the veterinarian quite enough information, he will choose another imaging option.
Once your dog has been diagnosed with marble queen toxicity, the veterinarian will need to work quickly to begin effective treatment. Treatment does depend on the amount your dog consumed, and this will be determined once your veterinarian finishes the diagnostic testing. Treatment methods include:
Decontamination will be determined by the veterinarian. This depends on the amount of toxicity of the calcium oxalate poisoning. The veterinarian will decide on gastric lavage or emesis; gastric lavage will be the insertion of a tube into your dog’s stomach to flush out the elements, and emesis is the induction of vomiting. This will depend on the amount of irritation within your dog’s gastrointestinal tract; the veterinarian will choose the safest route of decontamination of your loved one.
Removal of Plant Particles
The first action your veterinarian will want to take is the removal of plant particles within the dog’s oral area. The medical professional will thoroughly rinse and cleanse your dog to aid in the removal of the needle-sharp raphides before treatment begins.
If your dog is having trouble due to an allergic reaction caused by the histamines released (which may be swelling and labored breathing) the veterinarian may choose to perform esophageal tubing to help assist his breathing. Oxygen therapy will be added to this as well. In addition, esophageal tubing may help prevent asphyxiation.
IV fluids are a vital means of treatment in dogs that have been poisoned by calcium oxalate crystals. IV fluids will be used to hydrate your dog, keep electrolyte levels stable, and encourage urination and the kidneys to continue functioning properly.
If your dog received proper treatment within twelve hours, the prognosis is good. More than likely he will need to be hospitalized and the veterinarian will determine the length of his stay. A dog is typically hospitalized for 1 to 2 days until he becomes stabilized and shows signs of recovery. Once you are able to take your dog home, the veterinarian will tell you how to care for your dog and what to watch for in terms of any new symptoms. If any new symptoms develop, it will be important to contact your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.
Due to the fact that your dog’s gastrointestinal tract may have been irritated or inflamed by the crystals, your veterinarian may recommend a special diet consisting of bland foods or prescription dog food. The medical professional will let you know how long your dog will need to stay on this bland diet. The veterinarian will want to see your dog again via follow-up visits to be sure he is recovering nicely. For future reference and prevention, it is important to check the plants within your home and on your property to prevent any ingestion or poisoning.
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