top of page

Case report

Dieffenbachia intoxication


Date: 2019, July

Data provided by:


A 12 years old Asian elephant in a zoo showed sudden symptoms: standing still with its mouth widely open, tongue pressed cranially, frequent urinating small amounts of urine. The other elephants at the zoo remained normal.

Differential diagnose: tongue in contact with setae (hairs )of the caterpillar of the oak processionary (Thaumetopoea processionea); oak leaves had been fed during the preceeding week; insect sting in the oral cavity, eaten from an unknown irritating substance;  urethra obstruction by urinary stones.


No treatment was given, as the cause of the intoxication was found soon: one of the ornamental plants outside the enclosure showed clear signs of having been chewed on: Dieffenbachia sp. 

Treatment results

The symptoms disappeared within several hours after onset.


Dieffenbachia species

bottom of page