For Immediate Release
Contact: Jan Williams, College of Veterinary Medicine, 612-624-6228, cell 651-246-4594, pager 612-534-4740
Easter Lilies Poisonous to Cats
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (April 12, 2006) - Spring is here, and many people welcome this season by purchasing and planting a variety of flowers and shrubs. One plant that can have serious consequences to cats is the Easter lily, also known as Lilium longiflorum, and other variations in the lily family such as tiger, rubrum, Japanese, and some species of the day lily. Lilies can be poisonous, if not deadly, to cats.
Of the 100,000 calls the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center handled in 2005, 4,400 were due to plant consumption. There are over 100 poisonous plant varieties including lilies, azalea, rhododendron, sago palm, kalanchoe, schefflera, and others.
"All parts of the lily plant, including the flowers, are considered toxic," says Dr. Lisa Powell, associate clinical professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. "Generally, within two hours of ingestion, a cat may vomit, become lethargic, or lose their appetite. These signs continue to worsen as kidney damage progresses and if not treated immediately can result in death." Postponing treatment longer than 18 hours can result in renal failure and death.
Keep cats indoors to prevent exposure to lilies in a garden. While poisonous plants should be kept away from pets indoors, also discourage cats from nibbling on any variety, as even non-toxic plants could produce minor stomach upset if eaten.
If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of the lily, check the plant to see if there are missing or chewed parts, and take your cat to the veterinarian immediately for treatment to prevent kidney damage and death. The University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center handles three to five cat poisonings due to lilies each year and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to handle these types of emergencies.
For more information about pet poisons, please visit The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at www.aspca.org.
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