According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the tuber is the part of the cyclamen plant that is toxic to dogs and cats. The plant, which also may be known as sowbread, contains a substance called tarpenoid saponins. This substance, when ingested, is harmful to felines and canines. It can also cause stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea in humans.
Cyclamen is a tuberous plant that grows in the wild in parts of Europe, western Asia and northern Africa. Though there are 20 species, the cultivar Cyclamen persicum is the one most often sold as a house plant. The tuber, or bulbous root, of cyclamen is toxic to dogs, cats and humans. This member of the Primrose (Primulaceae) family has delicate blooms that resemble butterflies. It blooms in winter or spring.
If your dog or cat has ingested cyclamen tubers, symptoms may include salivation, vomiting and diarrhea. If a large quantity has been ingested, it may result in heart rhythm abnormalities, seizures and even death.
If you suspect that your cat or dog has eaten cyclamen tubers, contact your veterinarian. The ASPCA also has an Animal Poison Control Center that may be contacted at 888-426-4435 for a $65 consultation fee. If your pet is experiencing seizures, is unconscious or has difficulty breathing, take it to your veterinarian or a local animal hospital immediately. Bring along the plant and any material your pet has vomited.
Cyclamen flowers resemble butterflies in flight. The pink, purple, red or white petals form cups, and some of them turn sharply backward. The plant grows about 4 to 8 inches tall and resembles an African violet. It has a mound of dark green, heart-shaped leaves with prominent, light-colored veins. The flower-bearing stems are leafless, reddish-colored and protrude from the center of the foliage mound.
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