Spring toxin 3: Lilies


Photo gallery: 6 toxic springtime plants (Lilies)

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Spring toxin 3: Lilies

There are dangerous and benign lilies--and the dangerous ones can be deadly. Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies contain oxalate crystals that cause minor signs of illness, such as tissue irritation in the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus, which, in turn, causes minor drooling. The potentially fatal lilies are true lilies, including Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter, and Japanese Show lilies. These are all highly toxic to cats. Even small ingestions (such as eating the pollen or just two to three petals or leaves) can result in kidney failure.

Cats that consume any part of a lily require immediate medical care to effectively treat the poisoning. Tell your clients that if they see a cat eating a lily, they should immediately bring the cat and the lily plant to your clinic. Decontamination (inducing vomiting and giving binders such as activated charcoal) is imperative in the early toxic stage. Additionally, aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, kidney-function monitoring tests, and supportive care can greatly improve prognoses.


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