Many popular indoor plants are toxic to companion animals. This reviewdiscusses the indoor plants most commonly associated with companion animalpoisoning in Europe.

Effects of plant poisoning range from mild vomiting and diarrhoea fromingestion of glycoside containing Aucuba japonica (spotted laurel) topotentially fatal gastrointestinal, neurological and liver problems fromingestion of just one or two seeds of the Cycas revoluta (sago palm).Anthurium spp. (flamingo flowers), Dieffenbachia spp. (dumb canes),Spathiphyllum spp. (peace lillies) and Zantedeschia aethiopica (arum lillies)contain calcium oxalates that if ingested cause clinical signs includingdrooling, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, diarrhoea, eye and breathingproblems. Rhododendron spp. including azaleas and Nandina domestica (sacredbamboo), contain glycosides that if ingested cause gastrointestinal signs,breathing, heart and neurological problems. Cyclamen spp. (e.g. Persianviolets) and Dracaena marginata (dragon tree) contain saponins that ifingested cause drooling, gastrointestinal signs, heart and neurologicalproblems. Euphorbia pulcherrima (poinsettia), which are common Christmasornamentals, contain a range of substances that can cause irritation to theeyes, mouth, throat and gastrointestinal tract resulting in signs such asconjunctivitis, vomiting and diarrhoea. Lilium spp. (lillies) containalkaloids that cause kidney failure if ingested by cats. One of the mostcommon indoor plants, Ficus benjamina (ficus) also contain a variety of toxinsthat irritate the skin and gastrointestinal tract.

Given the ubiquity of these toxic plants, measures should be put in place toprevent companion animal poisoning. The authors also recommend a centralisedsystem for reporting cases of companion animal poisoning.

Bertero A, Fossati P, Caloni F (2020) Indoor companion animal poisoning byplants in Europe. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7.

Source: RSPCA Science Update

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