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July 2011 – Triumph: Tales of Life

Pretty Plants but Poisonous to Pets

Lilies are beautiful plants and can make any room or garden more elegant.  Unfortunately, the leaves, stems, and flowers of virtually all lily plants are toxic to cats (but, interestingly enough, not to dogs or rabbits).  Eating part of a lily plant can cause a cat to vomit, become anorexic, and lethargic.  If not treated soon enough, lily toxicity can cause kidney failure which can lead to death if left untreated.  Signs of kidney failure include loss of appetite, depression, vomiting, and lack of urination.

Sophie is a 2 year old kitty who came to Dr. Ghneim at Care First Animal Hospital at Glenwood on emergency after her owner saw lily leaves when Sophie vomited.

Her owner had done some quick research and found out that lilies are toxic to kitties and brought her to Dr. Ghneim right away.  That quick action proved to be extremely beneficial!   There are no diagnostic tests to prove that a cat has eaten lilies-we rely on the owner seeing the plant being ingested or seeing plant material in the vomitus.

However, we did check Sophie’s blood levels to make sure her kidneys were still working fine, which they were.  Dr. Ghneim and Sophie’s Mom felt like 24 hours of fluid therapy was warranted to help prevent any kidney damage, and then Mom took Sophie home to watch for any symptoms.  If Mom had waited just 24 to 48 hours to bring Sophie in after ingesting the lily plant then her prognosis could have been much worse, since the toxins begin harming the kidneys immediately.

What should you do if you see your dog or cat ingesting a plant?

You have several options.  You can call your local veterinarian to see if the plant is harmful.  You can also check the ASPCA’s website with it’s database of plants, that site is  It is helpful to know what type of plant your pet ingested and how long it’s been since ingestion.

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