Crotons are decorative plants of tropical origin. They are extremely popular for their beautiful leaves and are a very common pick for houseplants.
Even though they are such wonderful plants to add to your home décor, they can pose a threat. Some varieties of crotons are toxic for both humans and animals.
Let us dive deeper into this domain of discussion in this article and become more familiar with how to deal with the toxic nature of these plants.
Are Crotons Poisonous to Animals?
Yes, certain varieties of crotons are, in fact, poisonous to animals. Croton plants contain the chemicals diterpenes and 5-deoxyingenol in their roots, bark, and sap.
If your pet chews these plant parts, these chemicals will react with the animal tissues and produce blisters and swelling in the mouth region.
If the plant sap comes in contact with the skin of the animals repeatedly, it can promote eczema-like reactions.
If your pet eats a substantial amount of it, it can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
Why are Crotons poisonous to Animals Like Cats and Dogs?
Cats and dogs are the most common house pets we keep. The crotons, with their vibrantly colored leaves, catch the attention of these pets and attract them.
It often leads these poor animals to either chew or swallow these leaves or stems and makes them more prone to being exposed to the toxic sap of the crotons.
Once such a situation takes place, it is only a matter of time when the unwelcome reactions start to kick in, and your pet falls into an unfortunate phase of suffering and physical discomfort.
Even though the toxins that a croton plant produces are not fatal, and mostly even your pet’s hospitalization is also not required, it is still best to take precautionary measures.
Key symptoms to being exposed to these toxic chemicals are:
- Abdominal pain
- Blistering in mouth
- Irritation to mucous membranes
- Skin irritation
The chemicals diterpenes, including 5-deoxyingenol, are stored in the barks, roots, and sap of the croton plants are present to act as a defense mechanism against herbivorous animals.
These chemicals harm cattle and horses the most but are harmful to any other breed of animal.
It is advisable to take your dog or cat who might have had ingested parts of a croton plant to a veterinary doctor as soon as possible. The doctor and urinalysis take a thorough blood count to throw better light on any possible diseases and toxins in your pet’s system.
In case of vomiting observed in your pets, the vomitus will be under review, and tests will help identify the exact toxins. You will also check for dermatitis spots on your pet’s skin if it has come in contact with the plant’s toxic sap.
The treatment procedure starts with the doctor thoroughly rinsing the inside of your pet’s mouth and skin (if contact with the sap).
This way, a substantial amount of the toxin is removed from the tissues. In most cases, the initial discomfort that your pet will face by chewing on any part of a croton plant will stop it from ingesting it.
Hence, thorough rinsing of the mouth does the trick in most situations and happens to be the only necessary treatment.
In more abject cases of oral inflammation, the vet will provide your dog or cat with an antihistamine and a pain killer to subside the swelling and irritation in the mouth or on the skin. In cases of severe vomiting and gastrointestinal pain, the doctor will have to opt for supportive treatment.
This treatment usually consists of administering intravenous fluids to abolish dehydration and injecting an antihistamine. Resorting to medications like Imodium or Pepcid AC might be necessary to stop further damage to the gastric linings.
In usual cases, the effects of the chemicals wear off within some hours. If your pet is old, then it might take a while to recover from the reactions, but they too are cured of it in the end. Tiny quantities of crushed ice better are given to the pets suffering from such reactions to avoid dehydration.
Upon completing the damage-controlling medications, make sure you make your pets eat bland food for a couple of days. Opt for carbohydrates that they can easily digest along with some easily digestible sources of protein.
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Crotons can be pretty dangerous for your cats and dogs, although they are such beautiful houseplants.
If you have pets in your house, make sure you plant them outdoors or place them out of your pets’ reach.
If you are an owner of a pet and have crotons at your place, this article will surely help you protect your beloved babies from ailment and physical discomfort. It can act as a proper precautionary measure against the ill effects of these plants’ toxins.