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A beautiful, yellow-eyed cat receiving treatment. Doug Hall feeding a well-loved client.

Paws For Thought- Article 14

8th August 2019

Lily Toxicity in Cats


Lilies are commonly seen in floral bouquets, but they are also starting to flower out in the garden at the time of year. Many of you will be aware that these flowers are toxic to cats, but we do still see cases of toxicity, and wanted to draw attention to the risks associated with cats coming into contact with the flowers.

All parts of the Lilium plant are toxic to cats, but the most common way that it is ingested is via a cat grooming pollen off its fur after brushing past a flower. The toxic pathway is currently unknown, but it is known that they can cause acute kidney failure and seizures.

 

What are the clinical signs?

Most commonly owners will notice the bright pollen on the cat's fur that may cause suspicion of ingestion. Ingestion leads to occasional vomiting/diarrhoea in the early stages, but can lead to lethargy, anorexia, dehydration and seizures.

 

What should you do if you suspect Lily ingestion?

We always recommend phoning us on 01483 538990 to arrange to bring your cat in as soon as possible. If we can start treatment within 48hrs, we have a better chance of treatment success.

If ingestion has only happened recently, we will try and induce emesis (empty the stomach)- which can sometimes be difficult in a cat. We may also take bloods to check kidney values, and start on a drip and supportive treatment, normally for 3 days.

When there is still pollen on the fur, we will also wash this off to try and prevent further ingestion.

 

Prevention

    Avoid having Lilies in the house

    If you do have Lilies in the garden, try and prevent your cat from having access to them

If you are concerned that your cat may have ingested Lilies, or that they are unwell and require treatment, please do phone us at the Cape Veterinary Clinic on 01483 538990.

 

Catherine Hannah BVSc MRCVS

References: BSAVA poisons database.

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