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Poisonous Flowers

1st December 2015

I got some lovely flowers last week, which was just such a nice gesture for a simple act I did. They look beautiful in my kitchen and make my house smell gorgeous.

They're Asiatic lilies, and whilst they are amazing to look at and smell beautiful, they are deadly to cats (along with most other lilies). I don't have a cat, but it reminded me that I should post about lilies as we enter the giving season.

Lilies can cause acute renal failure in cats, and they only need to chew a couple of leaves, or a bit of pollen - they really, REALLY don't need to ingest much of the plant at all. Clinical signs can occur within 4hrs and by the time your cat is showing signs it can be too late to save them! 

Cats showing signs of lily toxicosis will usually start vomiting within a few hours, become depressed and lethargic, and initially wee a lot, then stop weeing all together. They can also get gastrointestinal upsets. Death occurs within 3-7 days.

Treatment involves immediate decontamination - we make them vomit, maybe wash out the stomach followed by intravenous fluids for days to a week or more, and careful monitoring of urine output. We'll also do regular bloods to watch that kidney enzymes are returning to normal.

What about dogs? Dogs show nothing but mild gastrointestinal signs, even after eating heaps of the plants.

So if you are gifted with these beautiful flowers - either put them where you cat can't access them, or regift them to someone without a cat, as it only takes a minute for disaster to happen - especially with those cheeky and curious ones!