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Dogs are curious creatures who like to sniff and munch on plants when they are out and about. If your pet bites into the panda plant, he will immediately regret it. This plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that cut your dog’s mouth, gums, and tongue. Symptoms are typically pain and irritation to the mouth which can be treated symptomatically. However, symptoms can be more severe and can lead to issues like respiratory distress if not corrected. Most dogs recover well with the help of supportive veterinary care and observation.
If your dog bites into a plant and immediately develops pain and irritation of the mouth, he may have bitten into a plant containing insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, like the panda plant. If your dog is suffering symptoms such as hypersalivation or difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian for further instruction.
Symptoms of poisoning from the panda plant can vary from case to case. Symptoms may include:
Symptoms typically develop immediately when the dog bites into the plant.
The panda plant is known by many other common names which can make it slightly confusing. Additional common names this plant goes by is horsehead philodendron, heartleaf philodendron, cordatum, split leaf philodendron, saddle leaf, fiddle-leaf, fruit salad plant, red emerald and red princess. Scientifically, the panda plant belongs to the Araceae family with the name of Philodendron bipennifolium.
The panda plant produces insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. Instead of dissolving when coming into contact with the moisture of the mouth, they stay in their crystal form and cut and harm your dog’s mouth. Right when this plant touches your dog’s mouth, he will immediately feel a burning sensation in his mouth leading him to spit the plant material out. Depending on how much of the plant your dog bit into and how long he kept it his mouth, his symptoms may vary. While extremely rare and almost unheard of, if your dog swallows a piece of this plant, it may be fatal. However, since your dog’s instinctive reaction is to spit it out once it hurts his mouth, it is unlikely this will happen.
The veterinarian will begin by performing a physical exam on your dog when you first arrive. This will allow her to take a proper look at every part of your dog and the symptoms he is suffering. While she is examining him, she will also collect a history from you to gather any and all information relating to what your dog could possibly have gotten into before his symptoms began.
If your dog is drooling excessively or displaying other symptoms of oral pain, if he will allow her, she will take special care when examining your dog’s mouth. If your dog vomits while at the clinic, the veterinarian will examine the contents for any evidence as to what he might have ingested. However, most dogs do not swallow this plant so it is unlikely anything will be found in the regurgitated contents.
Lab work will be performed to give the veterinarian a broad look as to how the internal organs are tolerating the toxin. A urinalysis will be performed to check your dog’s urine for any crystal formation indicating he swallowed some of the crystals. She will also run blood work in the form of a complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel to provide her with needed information for proper assessment. If the veterinarian is concerned about dehydration, a packed cell volume (PCV) may be performed to determine hydration status.
If you witnessed your dog chewing on this plant before his symptoms developed, take a piece of it with you to the veterinarian’s office. This will allow for proper and quicker identification of the plant your dog consumed and therefore the toxin it contains.
Since the source of your dog’s pain will mainly be in his mouth from the cutting action of the crystals, the veterinarian may attempt to wash out his mouth. This should remove any remaining crystals from your dog’s mouth and hopefully prevent any more damage from occurring. The cooling sensation of the flush should also relieve some of the burning sensation he may be experiencing. Once this is done, she may decide to start him on intravenous fluid therapy to correct and prevent any dehydration, to flush the toxin from his body quicker, and to decrease his chance of developing crystalluria.
If your dog is having trouble breathing or experiencing any type of swelling, an antihistamine will be administered immediately. If his oxygen saturation is too low due to the swelling or breathing issues, your veterinarian may start your dog on oxygen via flow-by or place him in an oxygen cage to get his oxygen saturation levels back to a safe range. If your dog is experiencing severe swelling and is still not receiving enough oxygen from either or both of these methods, the veterinarian may have to intubate him and maintain oxygen administration via intubation until he stabilizes.
Poisoning from the panda plant is typically considered mild to moderate, but can sometimes be severe. If your dog was healthy prior to ingestion of the plant, he will likely recover well with the assistance of supportive therapies alone. If your dog already had an existing health problem, his reaction to the toxin may be more severe requiring more treatment than the average patient.
The veterinarian may want to keep your dog in the hospital overnight or for a couple days until his symptoms subside. This will allow the veterinarian to keep an eye on him and his condition and allow her to take immediate action if necessary.
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Panda Plant Poisoning Average Cost
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