What is Wild Calla Poisoning?
While the wild calla is not a native flower in many regions, it can be found everywhere when in season due to people ordering it. Its unique color leads people to want it and therefore order it or request it at their local plant nursery. It is unique and lovely to have, but as a dog owner you need to know it contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals on the inside. The crystals may affect your dog’s breathing capabilities if he decides to bite into it. He will experience pain and burning of his mouth due to little cuts from the crystals, and additional swelling that may block his airway. If your dog bites into a wild calla, take him to a veterinarian to receive supportive therapies to ensure a full recovery.
The wild calla has the appearance of a calla lily in a maroon color. If your dog bites into this plant, he will immediately regret his choice. Symptoms of irritation and burning of the mouth will develop and he will need to be seen by a veterinarian to ensure a full recovery.
Book First Walk Free!
Symptoms of Wild Calla Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of wild calla poisoning develop immediately after your dog bites into this plant. Symptoms include:
- Pawing at the mouth
- Irritation of the eyes
- Irritation of the mouth
- Irritation of the lips
- Irritation of the tongue
- Excessive drooling
- Foaming at the mouth
- Oral inflammation
- Difficulty swallowing
- Respiratory distress
Wild calla is a native plant to Asia, specifically Israel, but can be found across the world as a planted flower. It is an ornamental plant in the typical shape of a calla lily except it blooms in a deep purple maroon color. Other common names this plant goes by includes kardi, priest’s hood, black calla, Solomon’s lily, and wild arum. Scientifically, it belongs to the Araceae family with the scientific name of Arum palaestinum or can sometimes be found spelled Arum palestinum.
Causes of Wild Calla Poisoning in Dogs
Wild calla is known to produce insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals cause damage in your dog’s mouth due to insolubility quality of the crystals and their sharp-edged shape. Instead of dissolving when coming into contact with the moisture of the mouth, the crystals cut the tissue and cause injury. This trait is what causes the intense symptoms related to oral irritation. The entire wild calla contains the toxin, but the leaves contain the highest concentration.
Diagnosis of Wild Calla Poisoning in Dogs
When you first arrive at the veterinarian’s office, she will begin by performing a physical exam on your dog. This will allow her to assess his symptoms and note any abnormalities of his vitals. If your dog is drooling excessively or displaying other symptoms of oral pain, the veterinarian will take special care when examining his mouth to note any abnormalities. If your dog vomits while at the clinic, the veterinarian will examine the contents for any evidence as to what your dog ingested.
Blood work will be performed to give the veterinarian a broad look as to how the internal organs are functioning and to rule out other possible causes of his symptoms. A complete blood count (CBC) and chemistry panel will provide the veterinarian with needed information for proper assessment of organ function. A packed cell volume (PCV) may also be performed to determine hydration status. If your veterinarian suspects crystalluria, she may perform a urinalysis for further evaluation of kidney function and to check for crystal formation in the urine from the oxalates.
Treatment of Wild Calla Poisoning in Dogs
For any type of oral pain, drooling, or foaming at the mouth, the veterinarian may attempt to wash out your dog’s mouth. This will rinse any remaining crystals from your dog’s mouth to prevent further damage to the sensitive tissue of his mouth.
If your dog develops swelling of the throat and is experiencing breathing difficulties, your veterinarian may start your dog on oxygen via flow-by or place him in an oxygen cage. If your dog is experiencing severe swelling, the veterinarian may have to intubate him and maintain oxygen administration via intubation until he stabilizes. An antihistamine will be administered to help decrease the swelling and you should begin to notice a decrease in swelling in 2 to 4 hours.
Just as in any toxicity case, your dog will be started on fluid therapy to flush the toxin from the body. The fluid therapy will prevent the kidneys from shutting down as well as correcting and preventing any level of dehydration your dog may be experiencing. With the possibility of crystals forming in the urine, the fluids will continuously push liquid into him. This will make him need to urinate frequently enough for the urine to not remain in the bladder long enough to allow the formation of crystals.
Recovery of Wild Calla Poisoning in Dogs
Since most cases of wild calla poisoning are relatively mild, the prognosis for a full recovery is excellent. Once the oxalate crystals are rinsed from your dog’s mouth, no more injury should occur. If your dog is experiencing crystalluria, once the toxin has passed through his body, formation of crystals in the urine should cease.
Educate yourself about the plants you have in and around your home. Many dogs do not disturb plants, but even the most well behaved dog can get curious. If you have this plant in your home, keep it at a height your dog cannot reach, even when standing on his hind legs. If you have this plant outside your home, keep it in an area your dog does not have access to and teach him to not chew on or ingest foliage.