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What is Peace Lily Poisoning?

Peace lily plants are a genus of flowering plants in the Araceae family displaying large flat leaves and large, uniquely shaped white flowers. All parts of the peace lily contain calcium oxalate crystals and these crystals can cause intense pain and irritation when the plant is chewed or swallowed. The immediate pain posed by the sharp crystals usually prevents animals from doing more than sampling the plant. On rare occasions, the dog may eat larger amounts of plant material. On those occasions, your canine companion may require a visit to the veterinarian’s office.

The peace lily (Spathiphyllum) contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals which can cause intense pain and swelling in the mouth when chewed and gastrointestinal tract if swallowed.

Peace Lily Poisoning Average Cost

From 310 quotes ranging from $800 - $7,000

Average Cost

$3,000

Symptoms of Peace Lily Poisoning in Dogs

The peace lily plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in all parts of the plant. When chewed or swallowed these crystals can cause: 

  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated eyes 
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Hoarse barking
  • Labored breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Numbness of exposed area
  • Obstruction of the airway
  • Pawing/rubbing at the face or mouth
  • Swelling of the tongue and lips
  • Vocalization
  • Vomiting

Types

Spathiphyllum plants are a genus of flowering plant with attractive broad leaves and a large distinctive white flower. It most commonly called a peace lily but is also well known as the mauna loa plant. Several other types of plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals which are the cause of irritation from Spathiphyllum genus of plants. These plants can include: 

  • Arrowhead vine (Syngonium podophyllum)
  • Calla or arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica)
  • Candelabra cactus (Euphorbia lactea)
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema modestrum)
  • Charming Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia amoena)
  • Devil’s ivy (Pothos, Epipremnum)
  • Elephant’s Ear (Alocasia/Caladium/Xanthosoma)
  • Flamingo plant (Anthurium)
  • Fruit salad plant (Monstera)
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)
  • Philodendron (Philodendron)
  • Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum)
  • Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)
  • Wild calla (Calla)
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Causes of Peace Lily Poisoning in Dogs

All parts of the peace lily contain the calcium oxalate crystals that can cause distress to your pet. Calcium oxalate is a calcium salt of an oxalic acid which produces irritation and numbness to the tissues it contacts. Chewing any part of the peace lily results in intense pain and inflammation to the tissues of the mouth and throat when the microscopic crystals embed themselves into the soft tissues that they contact. Plant material or sap that is swallowed may cause the irritation to extend through the throat and the gastrointestinal tract, causing internal swelling and severe pain. Swelling in the airway can also cause difficulties when breathing.

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Diagnosis of Peace Lily Poisoning in Dogs

Symptoms of exposure to calcium oxalate crystals, such as in the consumption of the peace lily, will present instantaneously, allowing a preliminary diagnosis based on the identification of the plant combined with the symptoms the canine is showing. Symptoms have occasionally been known to take up to two hours to show up if large portions of plant material get consumed without chewing. If you did not observe what your pet ingested, or if your dog swallowed sizeable quantities of the plant, your veterinarian might recommend a visit to the office.

Your dog’s doctor will want to obtain information from you about any opportunistic eating that was seen or suspected in addition to any concurrent supplements or prescriptions that your dog is on. A urinalysis, complete blood count (CBC), and biochemistry profile will generally be done in an effort to reveal any concurrent diseases or disorders. If your dog is vomiting from exposure to the plant material, then the vomitus will also be visually inspected and then tested for toxins. Plant material in the vomit may help confirm the diagnosis.

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Treatment of Peace Lily Poisoning in Dogs

Immediate treatment will start with a thorough rinsing out of the mouth and affected areas with fresh, clean water to remove as many of the irritating crystals as possible. You may also want to offer your canine something else cold to eat or drink, such as ice cubes or milk, to ease the mouth pain until you are able to contact your veterinarian. The unpleasant taste and discomfort will usually prevent most canines from consuming much of the actual plant material, so rinsing the mouth area may be all that is required. In certain circumstances, your veterinarian may also recommend giving your dog an appropriate pain reliever or antihistamine. 

A visit to your veterinarian’s office will generally be recommended if a sizeable amount of the plant material or sap is ingested. An antihistamine might be injected into the patient’s muscle if it was not administered previously, administration as an intramuscular injection is likely to occur at this time, along with intravenous fluid treatment to prevent dehydration. Gastroprotective medications may help to prevent damage to the stomach lining itself, and if the airway is exhibiting significant  swelling, your canine may need to stay at the veterinary hospital for observation until the swelling subsides.

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Recovery of Peace Lily Poisoning in Dogs

Prognosis for dogs who have ingested smaller portions of the plants that contain the calcium oxalate crystals, such as the peace lily, is usually quite good. The painful effects of the crystals in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract tend to dissipate within twelve to twenty-four hours from ingestion. If any swelling in the airway has occurred, it should be thoroughly evaluated by a professional. Massive doses of calcium oxalate crystals are rare due to the initial pain and discomfort in the mouth. When pets consume larger amounts, it can cause long-term liver and kidney damage, so additional monitoring of the liver and kidneys is recommended in the event of the ingestion of substantial quantities of the sap.

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Peace Lily Poisoning Average Cost

From 310 quotes ranging from $800 - $7,000

Average Cost

$3,000

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Peace Lily Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Mix

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Three months

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

Bite off some leaves of a peace lily. I am not sure if he digested it. He is not acting any different than he normally does.

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. Though a Peace Lily is not as toxic as some of the other forms of lily plants it can cause severe irritation to the oral cavity, oral pain and nausea. I would recommend having him examined by your veterinarian so that he or she can evaluate the oral cavity to make sure that it appears normal and there are no ulcers present in the mouth. If there is evidence of inflammation in the mouth they will be able to provide treatment for you. Take care!

Aug. 2, 2020

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Havanese poodle mix

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Eleven Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Appetite

My dog has recently stopped eating and will only drink water. She is frequently urinating and it has a strong odor and has blood coming out of her vagina.

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- I’m sorry she is not feeling well. I would get her into your vet to be evaluated immediately. There are many possibilities on what could be going on. If she is not spayed she may have a pyometra which is an infected uterus. It could also be a severe UTI, a kidney infection, chronic kidney disease, a bladder tumor, or diabetes. Your veterinarian will be able to examine her, perform bloodwork and a urinalysis +/- x-rays and provide you with a treatment plan for her. I hope she feels better soon.

July 31, 2020

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German Longhaired Pointer

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Ten Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Severe Vomiting About 3 To 5 Times Daily , Weight Loss

some one has said that the "smell" of my peace lilies can cause my dog to get sick. I have them placed high enough that she has never had the opportunity to ingest any part of the plant. Is this true that the smell alone can make her so sick?

July 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I think it is very unlikely that the smell of a plant is making your dog as sick as you described in your question. If she is vomiting, not feeling well, and losing weight, there may be more going on. I think it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to examine her, see what might be going on, and get treatment for her. I hope that she is okay.

July 29, 2020

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Rigby

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Maltipoo

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8 Months

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

I have eight month eight pound maltipoo. He ate and chewed up about a sixth of a peace lily leaf. He seems to be acting normal. Is it going to kill him or cause any serious problems? What should I be monitoring and checking for?

Aug. 13, 2018

Rigby's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Peace lilies may cause oral irritation which may lead to drooling, vomiting and other symptoms. Keep an eye on Rigby for the time being monitoring for any symptoms on this page and visit your Veterinarian if you have any concerns. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 14, 2018

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Gator

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Pit/rot

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Forced Vomiting

My dog, 5yo 125lbs. pit/rot mix are 3 or 4 leaves from my peace lily plant. Within 15 minutes of this, I made him vomit. He threw up everything including his food from hours earlier. A Do I still need to take him to the vet or can I just watch him??

June 28, 2018

Gator's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

If Gator brought up everything when vomiting was induced within a few minutes of ingestion, I would recommend keeping a close eye on him for the time being; however, if any symptoms present your should visit a Veterinarian immediately to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 29, 2018

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Tahoe and Ms. Dixie

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German Shepherd

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3 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

I noticed this morning that my Peace plant had visible signs of chewing. I looked closely for bugs, but knew it couldn't be due to how many and how big the chunks taken off were. This being said, neither of my dogs are showing any signs of poisoning. Should I still be concerned and how soon do symptoms appear? What are the warning signs?

Peace Lily Poisoning Average Cost

From 310 quotes ranging from $800 - $7,000

Average Cost

$3,000

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