Coming into the Christmas season we think it’s a great time to remind everyone that Lilies can be toxic to cats!

T here is no denying that lilies are beautiful flowers with a wonderful perfume however you should know that these flowers can be toxic to cats by causing the kidney damage. The sooner an affected cat seeks veterinary attention the better the chances of recovery.

It is because Lilies are so pretty with a strong perfume that they are often included in florist bouquets and are commonly found in houses especially at Christmas time. There are lots of different types of lilies including Christmas Lilies, Easter Lilies, Asian Lily and Stargazer and any of the species Lilium and Hemerocallis are toxic. It is not known what the toxic substance is and the toxic dose is unknown but appears to be very small.

Cats will sometimes chew on the flowers or leaves of plants when investigating or playing but another method of ingestion is when a cat brushes past the flower and gets pollen on their coat and then grooms thus ingesting pollen.

Sometimes there seems to be no symptoms before a cat collapses very ill. However in other cases there are symptoms that indicate your cat is unwell. Symptoms will occur shortly after ingestion, usually 2 -72 hours. If cats are untreated they may die within 3-7days.

Signs to watch for

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Increased urination (possibly followed by reduced urination)
  • Dehydration

What to do

If you are suspicious of ingestion you should contact your vet as soon as possible.

Depending on when the ingestion occurred your vet may induce vomiting in the cat.

They may recommend blood and urine tests to assess kidney function or hospitalisation with IV fluids (a drip) to flush the kidneys. An IV drip is usually left in place for 1-3 days to maximise chances of successful treatment. Your vet may also prescribe activated charcoal to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines.

Further blood and urine tests may be recommended a few weeks after the ingestion to again assess kidney function.

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