I know, lilies don’t exactly ‘scream’ Christmas. But flowers do, and lilies are amongst the most common types of flowers found in bouquets at all times of the year - including Christmas. That, plus their very high toxic potential for cats, is what gets lilies into this series of blog posts.
Stargazer lilies, Rubrum lilies, Tiger lilies, and the other members of the Lilum genus, the ‘true lilies’ as they are known, are highly toxic to cats. So too are certain types of Day lilies too.
These lilies are so toxic in fact that a nibble on one or two petals, or the ingestion of a small amount of pollen (such as what happens when a cat grooms itself), can be enough to put your cat into expensive, debilitating, and potentially-fatal acute kidney failure.
I’ve written on the mechanisms and dangers of lily toxicity in cats. So for the sake of brevity (a concept I am familiar with, but (as many of you might already be thinking) don’t often practice), I am including a link here for you to read more about it. (Scroll about 1/4 down the page, lilies are the second toxin discussed, right behind xylitol.)
It is important to keep in mind that lilies don’t only make it into your house in the form of bouquets that you purchase, they also frequently come in bouquets given or sent to you from your friends, loved ones, and admirers too.
As with most pet toxicities, time is of the essence if you are to improve the chances of a favorable outcome for both your cat and your wallet.
If you see your cat chewing on one of the aforementioned lilies, or if you see the results of them having done so (such as pieces of lily in their vomit), it is important that you bring your pet for veterinary evaluation and treatment straightaway. The benefits of early and aggressive diagnostics and treatment are typically decreased overall treatment costs and an improved prognosis for full recovery. The goal is to prevent acute renal failure from occurring, or to at least mitigate its severity should it set-in.
Its not uncommon for pet owners to take a ‘wait and see’ approach to pet poisonings, and though this is never an approach that I recommend, it is even less advisable in cases of lily exposure in cats. Again, the treatment for acute kidney failure once it has set-in is significantly more expensive (and less likely to help) than anything you would spend to undertake early and aggressive diagnostics and treatment to avoid the progression to acute kidney failure.
I’m also including a link here to the resources page of my website (www.ThePreventiveVet.com). About halfway down on this page you will find a list of the best animal-specific poison control centers in the US (along with contact info). You should program these numbers into your phone as well for ease of reference.
If you have cats…
Whether or not you have cats…
Here’s to a wonderful, joyous, and safe holiday season. Don’t let an emergency trip to the veterinarian ruin it…
Be aware, be prepared… be Preventive!™
Here’s a recap of The 12 Pet Hazards of Christmas so far…
Day 4: Batteries
Day 3: Mistletoe
Day 2: Fruitcake
Day 1: Tinsel
Jason Nicholas, BVetMed(Hons)
The Preventive Vet™
© 2011 The Preventive Vet. All Rights Reserved.