Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs
Level of toxicity: Generally mild to moderate
Common signs to watch for:
- Bloody urine
- Changes in thirst and urination
The Shamrock, Sorrel or Oxalis plant has a very bitter taste, which often deters dogs and cats from consuming large quantities. This is a soluble oxalate-containing plant and contains oxalic acid and oxalate salts. Soluble oxalate-containing plants must be differentiated from insoluble oxalate plants (which are less toxic). Examples of other soluble calcium oxalate-containing plants include: star fruit and rhubarb. 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. 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: plants
Alternate names: Oxalis, Sorrel, soluble calcium oxalate crystals, soluble oxalates, purple shamrock, love plant