Easter Lilies are deadly for cats. Even 2 or 3 petals or leaves can result in severe kidney failure. If you see our cat eating any part of a lily, take him to the veterinarian immediately to treat the poison.
Let’s face it, cats like to chew on plants. And their curious nature makes them want to check out that new plant or bouquet of flowers that you brought home for Easter. Paws has many plants the cats have defoliated over the course of this winter. The last thing you want is for them to chew on an Easter Lilly, or any poisonous plant.
All parts of the plant are considered toxic – the stem, leaves, flowers, pollen, and even the water if they are in a vase. If a cat does ingest some lily, prompt treatment by a veterinarian is imperative for the best prognosis. Dogs who ingest lilies may experience minor stomach upset but do not develop kidney failure.
All parts of an Easter Lilly are poisonous to cats. even the water from the pot. [/caption]Symptoms develop within six to 12 hours of exposure. Early signs include vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and dehydration. Symptoms worsen as kidney failure develops. Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the sooner you get your cat to the vet for treatment, the better. They can start the decontamination process that may include vomiting, or giving binders like activated charcoal to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines, intravenous fluids to flush out the kidneys, and blood testing to monitor kidney function, all imperative in the early toxic stage. Aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, kidney function monitoring tests, and supportive care improve kitty’s prognosis.
A Personal Encounter for Paws and Little Yellow
Paws went through this a few years ago, when Little Yellow chewed on some lily leaves. He immediately started frothing at the mouth, and hyperventilating. Did he actually chew and ingest a tiny bit of the leaves. Not sure, we immediately called the Emergency Veterinarian Center, some 70 miles away. There was no question – get him there are soon as possible. It was 60 to 70 mph down winding country roads, and he was scared, hyperventilating, and who knew what else. It turned out there was a tiny shred of poisonous substance in his body. He would stay for the night for intravenous therapy to be picked up the next morning at 7 am.
Both kitty and his human were scared, but despite a bucket load of cash and some acute stress, he turned out just fine. But if he hadn’t gone to the emergency clinic, he might have died, or ended up with permanent kidney damage.
March is Poison Prevention Awareness Month
As we wrap up March and Easter looms around the corner this coming Sunday, it’s an appropriate time to take a look at how something as beautiful as a plant can be so harmful to your cats. There are a number of plants that are not good for cats, but topping the list is the Easter Lilly.
The following are some examples of lilies considered dangerous to cats:
• Asiatic lily – including hybrids (Lilium asiatica)
• Day lily (Hemerocallis species)
• Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum)
• Japanese Show lily (Lilium speciosum)
• Rubrum lily (Lilium speciosum var. rubrum)
• Stargazer lily (Lilium ‘Stargazer’- a hybrid)
• Tiger lily (Lilium tigrinum or lancifolium)
• Wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum or umbellatum)
The best advise for these plants is do not bring them into your house, and do not plant them around your grounds where your cat or some unknowing feral cat can become poisoned.
Not all lilies are deadly. Some plants may contain the word lily in their name but are not considered true lilies, and may carry different risks following ingestion.
Benign, but less dangerous lilies include Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies contain oxalate crystals that cause irritation to mouth, pharynx and esophagus may result in minor drooling or stomach upset. These include:
• Calla lily (Zantedeschia species) – may cause oral and gastrointestinal irritation (drooling, vomiting, diarrhea) following ingestion.
• Peace lily (Spathiphyllum species) – may cause oral and gastrointestinal irritation (drooling, vomiting, diarrhea) following ingestion.
• Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) – contains toxins called cardiac glycosides that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and heart arrhythmias.
• Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria species – mentioned below) – may cause mild gastrointestinal upset following ingestion, can be mistaken for small versions of “true” lilies but does not cause kidney failure.
Valuable information: Pet Poison Helpline
Pet Poison Helpline, 855-764-7661, a 24-hour animal poison control service, is available, helps pets owners and veterinary professionals, have the most up-to-date and cutting edge information when it comes to pet poisonings. However, there is a $49.00 per incident fee, payable via credit card, which covers the initial consultation as well as all follow-up calls associated with the incident. f you’re calling from Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands, you can reach Pet Poison Helpline toll-free at 877-416-7319. Other Caribbean islands can reach us at 011-1-952-853-1716.
Make this Easter a safe one for your cat
Enjoy the Easter Lilies from a distance, and don’t bring them into your home. Some Paws advise: Don’t take pet poisoning from plants lightly. Becoming informed about what plants to avoid can be a life saving decision for your pets. Paws for Reflection will bring readers more information about this very important subject as we enter into spring, and planting our summer flower gardens.
Share your thoughts
Have you ever had any experiences with your cats getting too up close and personal with an Easter Lilly or any poisonous plant or substance. Do you avoid bringing Easter Lilies into your home. Do you plant Tiger Lilies in the garden. Please weigh in and share your thoughts on this important discussion.