Easter lilies

Easter Lilies Are Deadly to Cats

lilies_are_deadly_to_cats

As we approach the Easter holiday, it becomes vitally important once again to ensure that all cat owners know that Easter Lilies are deadly to cats. The information below comes to us courtesy of Dr. Lorie Huston of the Pet Health Care Gazette, and the veterinarians at the Pet Poison Helpline.

The Pet Poison Helpline, a national 24/7 animal poison control center, receives hundreds of calls this time of year from pet owners and veterinarians concerning cats that have ingested Easter lilies.

Easter lilies are deadly to cats“Unbeknownst to many pet owners, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “All parts of the Easter lily plant are poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure.”

In most situations, symptoms of poisoning will 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.

“There is no effective antidote to counteract lily poisoning, so the sooner you can get your cat to the veterinarian, the better his chances of survival will be,” said Brutlag. “If you see your cat licking or eating any part of an Easter lily, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately. If left untreated, his chances of survival are low.”

Treatment includes inducing vomiting, administering drugs like activated charcoal (to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines), intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing. The prognosis and the cost – both financially and physically – to the pet owner and cat, are best when treated immediately.

There are several other types of lilies that are toxic to cats as well. They are of the Lilium and Hemerocallis species and commonly referred to as Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies. Popular in many gardens and yards, they can also result in severe acute kidney failure. These lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets, so it is imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Photo of cat with Tiger lilies: istockphoto, photo of Easter lily: morguefile.com

Keep your pets safe at Easter

easter-cat

Keep your pets safe and happy during the Easter holiday celebrations.

1.  Pass on poisonous plants. Some popular plants-including Easter lilies-are highly toxic to pets and can easily prove fatal if ingested.

2.  Resist giving animals as Easter presents.  Bunnies, chicks, ducks and other animals are adorable, but people often forget that these cute little animals grow up into adult animals who require a commitment to provide daily care for the rest of their lives.

3.  Get rid of dangerous decorations.  Easter basket decorations-including plastic grass-are dangerous to animals if ingested. The grass can become twisted within a pet’s intestines and can be fatal if not caught quickly enough. Candy wrappers, plastic eggs and small toy parts can also pose a danger to pets.  Use tissue paper instead of plastic grass and do a thorough clean-up after Easter celebrations.

4.  Give your pet some peace.  Loud noises, erratic movements from children and crowds of people can be very stressful for animals. If your pet isn’t up for the chaos of an Easter egg hunt or family dinner, put her in a quiet area of the house when guests are visiting.

5.  Keep your pet out of the Easter baskets and away from candy, including chocolate. Candy can be harmful to pets, and chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs.

Amber and I would like to wish you and your furry family members a very Happy Easter filled with joy, happiness and treats!