Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs
Level of toxicity: Generally mild to severe
Common signs to watch for:
- Bloody urine
- Changes in thirst and urination
Soluble oxalate-containing plants contain oxalic acid and oxalate salts, and must be differentiated from insoluble oxalate plants (which are less toxic). Examples of soluble calcium oxalate-containing plants include: star fruit, common or garden rhubarb, shamrock plant, etc. In general, soluble calcium oxalate poisoning is more commonly associated with large animals (from livestock chronically grazing). However, when ingested in large enough quantities in small animals, it can result in poisoning in dogs, cats, and even humans.
Soluble calcium oxalates are present in varying degrees in all parts of the plant. For example, rhubarb stems are edible, but the leaves are not. When soluble oxalate salts are absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, they bind with body’s calcium, resulting in a sudden drop in calcium. Rarely, acute renal failure can be seen from ingestion of plants or fruit containing these soluble oxalate crystals. Clinical signs of this type of poisoning include drooling, inappetance, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, weakness, tremors, bloody urine, and changes in thirst and urination.
Poison type: Foods
Alternate names: starfruit, soluble oxalate crystals, soluble calcium oxalate