Monday, March 21, 2016

Cats are easily poisoned by Easter lilies, but there are safe alternatives to give as gifts

Cats are inquisitive, as anyone who shares life with them will tell you. And while their shenanigans in exploring the great indoors and outdoors don’t typically yield serious harm in the majority of cases, you’d be surprised at what items can cause their well-being to be put into jeopardy.
We all know felines can be seriously injured when they suffer a fall from an open window or can die from ingesting radiator coolant, but one of the most toxic items known to affect cats could already be in your home. 
Lilies are a common sight when entering most homes this time of year, as many hostesses and Moms out there can attest, and soon the botanical beauties will be shooting out of the soil and blooming in our backyards as well. 
Sadly, there are countless cats each year poisoned by Easter lilies and their relatives (Day lily, Asiatic lily,Tiger lily, etc.) by chewing on or eating them. They are pretty, but it's important to note that all parts of the plant are poisonous to cats. This means the petals, pollen, stamen, pistil – even the water in the vase – so cat-proofing your home and yard is essential.
A lot of people aren’t aware of the danger, and by the time their pet shows signs of illness, it can be too late. Prompt treatment is necessary to address the illness successfully. For that reason, a ‘wait-and-see’ approach doesn’t bode well in lily toxicosis. In fact, if an animal doesn’t get treatment within 12-18 hours of ingestion, it can die.
It’s vital that you take note of your cat’s symptoms, document them and convey them to the treating veterinarian immediately.
Symptoms that are consistent with being poisoned by ingesting lilies include: 
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Tremors 
  • Seizures
If you haven’t seen your cat chew on or eat the plant, the only way to be certain that they are suffering from lily toxicosis is to see parts of the plant in its vomit, so if you can, retrieve what you can of the vomitus and put in a small, sealed container and bring it with you to the veterinarian.
Why this is such a problem with felines in particular? Acute renal (kidney) failure takes place, and occurs as early as 36-72 hours after ingestion, and this is even true for young, healthy cats. 
What are the signs of a cat being sickened by lilies? Once renal failure ensues, a cat will experience the following symptoms:
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination initially, followed by lowered urine output, and eventually, no urine output at all
  • dehydration
At this time, the toxic constituent of lilies is not known. 
Treatment objectives for cats with lily toxicosis are limited, at best. Aggressive intravenous fluids to help prevent kidney failure, and in some cases, flushing the stomach can be helpful. This will remove any portions of the toxic agent that are left in the stomach.
Prevention is the best option.
It seems important to note that three types of lilies – including the Peruvian, Peace and Calla – are not deadly but because they contain insoluble oxalate crystals, some tissue irritation to the pharynx, esophagus, mouth and tongue can occur. You'll notice your pet pawing at their mouth, drooling, foaming and perhaps some vomiting. 
There are safe alternatives for Easter plant gifts and outdoor plantings. Here are a few ideas:
  • Gerbera daisy
  • African violet
  • catnip 
  • waffle plant
  • chia plant
  • hyacinth
  • purple passion plant
  • spider plant
  • orchids
  • tulips

Lorrie Shaw is a freelance writer and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!