Dieffenbachia seguine (dumbcane, leopard lily). Other varieties: Dteffenbachia
amoena (Dieffenbachia), Diefftnbachia picta (dumbcane), Dieffenbachia
arvida Exotica. A member of the plant family ARACEAE.
Popular variegated houseplants with whorls of large oval green leaves with white
or yellow markings or a marbling effect.
Animals most affected
Dogs and cats, domestic pets.
Biting into or mastication of the leaves
or stem, whether or not ingested, causes marked symptoms. Plant sap in contact with
the eye causes pronounced irritation.
Plant material contains crystals of calcium
oxalate arranged in raphides or druses. The irritant action is aggravated by a proteolytic
enzyme, dumbarine. Toxic dose not known.
intense pain in the mouth with swelling
of the buccal tissue and tongue;
oedema of the glottis, dysphagia;
occlusion of the airways due to this
swelling, possibility of asphyxia;
conjunctival injection, blindness;
gastrointestinal effects: vomiting, anorexia,
diarrhoea, sometimes haemorrhagic.
Specific problems in cats
respiratory difficulties, dyspnoea;
nervous effects: shaking, excitation,
muscular contractions, prostration and coma;
renal effects: albuminuria, haematuria,
possibility of death, or a slow recovery
(8-15 days before clinical signs abate).
Specific problems in dogs
no significant toxic effects; full recovery
within several days.
oedema of the mucous membranes;
acute nephritis (cat).
No antidote. Symptomatic care where indicated.
wash the mouth out well with cool water
or a dilute solution of sodium bicarbonate;
copious irrigation of mucous membranes;
wash out the eyes, instil anaesthetic
eye drops (e.g. 1% tetracaine);
bathe eyes with an eye lotion (with 2%
gastric lavage with an isotonic solution
of sodium chloride, 5-10 ml/kg body weight;
oral adsorbents (activated vegetable
demulcents, gastric antacids, H2-receptor
cardiorespiratory stimulants in severe