Anthurium (Anthurium species)

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This page contains information regarding a plant "known to be poisonous" to goats as well as other animals. This information was researched from various resources. Please note, that the author is not a botanist or specialist regarding plants. This information is posted for your reference and comparison purposes only.

Anthurium - Click for a full size image Anthurium - Click for a full size image Anthurium - Click for a full size image

Several plants are listed in this family; Anthurium, anturio, flamingo flower, flamingo lily, pigtail plant, tailflower.

As we obtain more specific information, we will list each plant separately with accompanying pictures and information. If you have pictures or information about about any of the plants listed above, please let us know as we would like to add it to the list.

Of the Aroid family - A tropical flower, anthuriums have strange petal-like bracts, that are red, pink, white or green. The blooms are glossy like patent leather. As a cut flower, anthuriums live two to three weeks. Aroids are perennials, many arising from corms or rhizomes. Some may be vines. The large net-veined leaves, which may have white or colored spots, are borne on leaf stalks that sheathe the stem. Most of these plants have simple leaves, but jack-in-the-pulpit has three-parted foliage. The aroid flower is a fleshy green, white, or yellow spike (spadix) borne inside a wraparound hood or bract (spathe). The fruits are brightly colored berries, borne in tight clusters, not often produced by the house plant species.

All plant parts contain calcium oxalate .

The plant cells contain needle-like crystal of insoluble calcium oxalate which penetrate the skin and mouth causing discomfort. In addition, the plants contain proteolytic enzymes which release histamine and kinins, causing swelling and an itching or burning sensation. Affected animals will shake their head, paw or rub the face and mouth, may salivate or foam at the mouth, may seek water, or may have visible swelling. Very severely affected animals may experience oral swelling to the point that swallowing and breathing become impaired. Typically, animals are not severely affected, since a few bites of the plants are often a sufficient deterrent to further consumption. Occasional reports of these plants causing kidney failure in cats have not been well-verified. Effects in cats appear to be limited to the signs described above. Some of these plants have been used with humans to prevent individuals from talking by causing excessive tongue swelling, hence the name "dumbcane".

Moderate. Pets may sample these commonly available plants with a nibble or two, but rarely ingest any quantity sufficient to cause serious problems or death. Risk increases with hungry or bored animals housed in close proximity to these plants

Any animal that chews or ingests the leaves will be affected. In many locations, including the Midwest, nearly all of these plants would be grown as houseplants, therefore pets (including birds and reptiles) are primarily at risk.

The juice or sap of these plants contains oxalate crystals. These needle-shaped crystals can irritate the skin, mouth, tongue, and throat, resulting in throat swelling, breathing difficulties, burning pain, and stomach upset. Call Poison Control or a doctor (veterinarian) if any of these symptoms appear following ingestion of plants.

Usually none required. Occasionally analgesics may be required. Swelling may be treated with cool compresses. It is unknown if diuretics or glucocortico steroid would help with the inflammation. Rarely the swelling will interfere with respiration. If necessary, secure the airway. For minor irritation, provide supportive care and prevent further exposure. For more severe signs, if the animal does not improve within a few minutes, or if swallowing or breathing is impaired, consult a veterinarian immediately.

These plants are not likely to be incorporated into hay or other feeds, but if so, the toxins are likely to remain.

Animals should not be allowed to consume these plants. Offer small amounts of fresh grass or other safe plant material (depending on the species), or remove the plant from the pet's environment. Some pets do not "learn their lesson" and may return to chew on these plants. In these situations, it is best to remove the plant from the pet's environment.

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