Monstera deliciosa ‘albo’ is toxic to dogs. The toxic principle is insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that penetrate the oropharynx causing intense pain, burning and swelling.
What is Monstera deliciosa ‘albo’?
|Monstera deliciosa ‘albo’
|Monstera deliciosa albo, Monstera albo, Albo
|Toxic to dogs
|Insoluble calcium oxalate crystals
|Mild to moderate
Monstera deliciosa ‘albo’, or plain ‘albo’ is a highly sought-after variegated Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa). The beautiful leaves made up of green along with areas of white blocks or marbling. As the plant matures, the leaves will develop slits (pinnatifid) and fenestrations (holes).
These highly sought-after plants are generally sold by private collectors and start at $300 AUD for a small cutting and can cost several thousand dollars for a mature plant.
Similar variegated M. deliciosa includes M. deliciosa ‘Thai constellation’, which mostly has a variegated marble pattern, and M. deliciosa ‘borsigiana’, which has a similar appearance to M. deliciosa ‘albo’, but the leaves are smaller with no fenestrations (holes).
Monstera deliciosa ‘albo’ contains needle-sharp insoluble calcium oxalate crystals known as raphides that are located throughout the plant. When the dog chews M. deliciosa ‘albo’, the raphides penetrate the delicate tissues of the mouth and throat causing intense pain, burning and in some cases, swelling.
- Pawing at the mouth
- Swelling of the gums, mouth and throat
- Difficulty swallowing and breathing
In most cases, the dog will stop chewing M. deliciosa ‘albo’ as soon as he or she experiences pain. In most cases, symptoms look more dramatic than they are, however, in rare cases, swelling can affect breathing, which is a medical emergency.
If it is safe to do so, remove any remaining plant matter from the dog’s mouth to prevent any further injury. Offer the dog a drink of something tasty such as tuna juice or milk to help relieve pain. Contact your veterinarian or pet poison helpline for further advice. They may recommend you observe the dog at home and bring it in if clinical signs develop. If the dog is experiencing breathing difficulty, seek immediate veterinary care.
As there is no antidote to M. deliciosa ‘albo’ ingestion, treatment is aimed at managing presenting symptoms. If ingestion was recent, the veterinarian may induce vomiting to remove plant matter from the gastrointestinal tract followed by administration of activated charcoal.
Antiemetics and gastric protectants can be prescribed for dogs who are vomiting. As a precaution, the veterinarian may also administer intravenous fluids to treat or prevent dehydration and electrolyte derangements.
Most hospitalised dogs will make a fast recovery and should be able to return home within a day or two.
Most dogs will make a quick recovery from M. deliciosa ‘albo’ ingestion. There is one reported case of a dog who needed a tracheostomy due to airway obstruction caused by Dieffenbachia ingestion, which also has the same toxic principle. Thankfully this is rare and almost all dogs will make a full recovery. If your dog is showing an interest in chewing your M. deliciosa ‘albo’, move it to a location he or she cannot access.
Julia is a writer and landscape consultant from Wollongong with a love of horticulture. She had been an avid gardener for over 30 years, collects rare variegated plants and is a home orchardist. Julia is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge of plant propagation and plant toxicology. Whether it’s giving advice on landscape projects or sharing tips on growing, Julia enjoys helping people make their gardens flourish.