Plants are accents to any home, provide a fragrant boost and help purify the air. However, many plants have natural defense mechanisms, in particular toxins that keep the plant being eaten or infiltrated by parasites. While eating plants is not common for domesticated animals, removing the danger of an accidental poisoning is the best preventive medicine when it comes to toxic plants and curious pets.
There are roughly 250 different species of Azalea, which is also known as rosebay or rhododendron. The plant is toxic to most animals. Signs of Azalea poisoning are diarrhea, vomiting, hypersalivation, coma, weakness, hypotension, cardiovascular collapse and death. The plant is very toxic and ingestion of even a few leaves can be serious. Effects are noticeable a few hours after ingestion. These include drooling, frequent bowel movements/diarrhea, loss of appetite and loss of coordination.
An attractive flower, the Amaryllis is also known as the Belladonna lily, Saint Joseph lily or the Naked Lady. Toxic to most house pets, the Amaryllis contains lycorine. Symptoms of Amaryllis (or lycorine) poisoning are convulsions, vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, anorexia, tremors and abdominal pain.
A popular houseplant, the Alocasia is also known as Elephant's ear. The toxin contained in the plant is an insoluble form of calcium oxalate. Eating the plant will produce immediate pain and burning. While this toxin is present in several plants, it is rather mild in Elephant ear. Signs of insoluble calcium oxalate ingestion are oral irritation, intense burning of mouth tongue and lips, intense burning, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty in swallowing.
A popular houseplant as well as a garden plant, the Begonia contains insoluble oxalates. The plant is especially toxic at its base where the brown tubers contain the greatest concentration of the toxin. Symptoms of Begonia poisoning are burning and irritation of mouth, lips, tongue, drooling, vomiting and trouble swallowing.
Calla lily is known by a variety of names including Pig lily, White Arum and Trumpet lily. The plant is tall with an attractive white flower and a pronounced stamen. While dogs would not be interested in this plant, cats may want to tap a swaying stalk with their paws in a playful manner. Touching the plant is not toxic but ingestion is. Symptoms of Calls lilly ingestion are oral irritation, intense burning excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
An attractive plant, the Gladiola contains toxins that affect most house pets, in particular cats and dogs. Signs of Gladiola poisoning are excessive salivation, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting and drooling. The toxins are found in highest concentration in the bulbs of the plant.