What is Trumpet Lily Poisoning?
Trumpet lilies are strikingly beautiful ornamental plants that adorn business offices, restaurants, churches, and homes. This plant is native to South Africa and grows in a warm climate. Grown from bulbs, trumpet lilies come in a variety of hues, such as green, white, orange, red, pink, and purple. The petals are thicker than your average plant, and quite waxy to the touch. These tubular plants can grow up to a few feet in height, and look very pretty when paired with other types of bulbous plants or lush greenery in gardens.
It is not recommended to have trumpet lilies in your home or on any property with pets. Trumpet lilies are poisonous to dogs and other small animals, as they contain insoluble calcium oxalates as their natural defense. Symptoms of mouth contact or ingestion will occur almost instantly, and, depending on the amount consumed, the toxicity can be serious.
The trumpet lily contains insoluble calcium oxalates, which cause pain when ingested. The trumpet lily is considered poisonous to dogs.
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Symptoms of Trumpet Lily Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of trumpet lily poisoning begin very rapidly if any part of the plant is chewed upon. Symptoms can include:
- Excessive drooling
- Shaking of the head
- Swelling of the mouth tissue
- Tongue swelling
- Respiratory distress
- Panting heavily
- Pawing of the face
The trumpet lily is called a variety of names. The other names for this toxic plant are important to know in case there are dogs or any small animals in the home. Other types of names include:
- Calla lily
- White arum
- Arum lily
- Pig lily
- Florist’s calla
- Garden calla
Causes of Trumpet Lily Poisoning in Dogs
The causes of trumpet lily poisoning in dogs begins with biting into the plant. Specific causes of toxicity include:
- Insoluble calcium oxalate crystals penetrating the tissue of the mouth
- The release of histamines from these crystals, or raphides
- Needle-sharp crystals are the plant’s natural defense
Diagnosis of Trumpet Lily Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog has eaten any part of the trumpet lily, it is important to call your veterinarian immediately. If possible, take a part of the plant to the veterinarian with you, and do not induce vomiting, as the dog may asphyxiate. If the dog is already vomiting on his own, try to get a sample if you are not completely sure he is vomiting due to ingesting the trumpet lily.
Once you arrive at the veterinarian’s office, he will begin to treat your dog’s symptoms, depending on what they specifically are. Once your dog is stable, he will take a blood and urine sample and run a biochemistry profile. The veterinarian will be looking for elevated levels of creatinine, phosphorus, and potassium as well as elevated blood urea nitrogen content. These are all common signs of trumpet lily and insoluble calcium oxalate poisoning. Taking a closer look at his urine, your veterinary caregiver will be checking for increased levels of glucose, protein, and any castes in the urine as well. Your dog may also be hypoglycemic. The veterinarian may also choose to test the contents of his vomit if he feels it is necessary.
If your dog did indeed swallow any of the plant, in addition to an upset stomach and diarrhea, he may also have swelling of the esophagus. The veterinarian may perform an endoscopic test to take a look inside your dog’s esophagus and abdominal area. This is a reason veterinarians do not perform emesis, as the dog may asphyxiate on the vomit. If your dog is showing signs of abdominal distress, your veterinarian may perform gastric lavage, which is the insertion of a tube down into the dog’s stomach and flushing out any of the toxic contents.
Treatment of Trumpet Lily Poisoning in Dogs
Treatment of trumpet lily poisoning in dogs will depend on your dog’s severity of toxicity. Rapid treatment is necessary, and may consist of:
The first thing your veterinarian will want to do is remove any particles of the plant from his mouth. He will then rinse your dog’s mouth and face thoroughly to help remove any of the needle-sharp raphides that have caused so much pain.
If your dog is having trouble breathing, your veterinarian will insert a tube into his esophagus to help his breathing. His esophagus may be swollen from the histamines that the raphides released as he swallowed them.
Oxygen therapy will be applied with the esophageal tubing or without, depending on your companion’s condition. The oxygen will help him breathe better until he becomes stable.
IV fluids are essential in treating this toxicity. The fluids will encourage your dog to urinate, which in turn helps the kidneys function properly. IV fluids also keep your dog hydrated, as he may have become dehydrated if he has been vomiting and suffering from diarrhea. These fluids will also increase his electrolytes.
Recovery of Trumpet Lily Poisoning in Dogs
Your dog may be hospitalized for a few days, depending on his condition. With quick treatment, recovery will ensue and prognosis is good. Once you have brought your dog home from the veterinary clinic or animal hospital, it will be important to have your dog rest as much as possible. Your veterinarian will have specific instructions for you to follow as you care for him at home. Avoid rough play and keep him quiet as he recovers.
Your companion may be put on a prescription diet or a bland diet of chicken and rice that you can prepare in your kitchen. This is because his stomach may still be healing from the tissue damage caused by the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. This depends on if he swallowed any of the plant at the time of poisoning.
Your veterinarian will want to see your dog for a follow-up visit to be sure he is recovering nicely. He will perform blood work and urinalysis just to be sure he is going to be fine. Be sure to tell your veterinarian of any new symptoms or behavioral changes you have seen in your dog.
In order to prevent this from happening in the future, always monitor your dog both inside and outside of your home. Remove all plants that contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, or other toxic substances, from your home and property.