What is Angelica Tree Poisoning?
Some cases of angelica tree poisoning are not serious, and the symptoms may begin to disappear on their own after awhile. However, other cases will require medical treatment by a veterinarian. If your cat begins to exhibit symptoms of angelica tree poisoning, don’t take the “wait and see” approach without first consulting with a veterinarian to see what you should do.
The angelica tree, which also goes by the names Devil’s Walkingstick, Toothache Tree, Hercules’ Club, Prickly Ash, and Prickly Elder, is a giant perennial tree that can grow over 20 feet tall. Today, it is often used around walkways or in gardens, however, Native Americans used to use the bark from the angelica tree as a natural way to induce vomiting or relieve constipation. Although it is beautiful, it can be poisonous when consumed by cats because it contains the toxin araliin. Even a small amount can cause discomfort and various symptoms, including skin irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Symptoms of Angelica Tree Poisoning in Cats
The angelica tree may look beautiful, but it is toxic when consumed by dogs or cats. The symptoms of angelica tree poisoning will begin to appear immediately following or shortly after ingestion or contact with the tree. Some of the symptoms you should be aware of include:
- Irritation on the skin or inside the oral cavity
- Excessive drooling
Causes of Angelica Tree Poisoning in Cats
Angelica tree poisoning is caused by the ingestion of any part of the angelica tree. This plant contains a toxin known as araliin, which can irritate a cat’s gastrointestinal tract, skin, and oral cavity after consumption.
Diagnosis of Angelica Tree Poisoning in Cats
If you spot any symptoms of angelica tree poisoning, take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Before you go to the vet, you may want to take a sample of your cat’s vomit so the vet can test it if necessary or look for clues as to what is causing the symptoms. Talk to your vet about what symptoms you have observed, when they first began, and if your cat has been exposed to anything unusual lately. Make sure you let the vet know whether your cat spends a lot of time outdoors as this will tell the vet it’s possible your cat could have been exposed to a toxin outside. If you’re familiar with what kind of plants and trees you have growing in your yard, tell your vet.
There is no way to diagnose angelica tree poisoning, however the vet will be able to tell your cat is suffering from exposure to some sort of toxin. He may take a sample of the fluid in the stomach to eliminate cyanide poisoning and determine what your cat ate.
Treatment of Angelica Tree Poisoning in Cats
The treatment will depend on the severity of your cat’s condition. In some cases, the cat may only exhibit mild symptoms such as skin and oral cavity inflammation. The vet may keep your cat to monitor his condition and see if symptoms improve or worsen. Many times, cats with very mild symptoms will not require any treatment. Other times, these cats will not need aggressive treatment, but they will need to be hooked to an IV to replenish their fluids that were lost through vomiting or diarrhea.
However, if your cat’s condition is considered moderate to severe, the vet will begin to induce vomiting to eliminate the toxin from your cat’s stomach. The vet may also place a tube into the cat’s mouth to wash the stomach out, a procedure known as gastric lavage. The vet can also administer Kapectolin, which is a medication that will calm down the cat’s stomach, or Sucralfate, which forms a paste in the stomach to protect the stomach from toxins that could irritate the lining.
Recovery of Angelica Tree Poisoning in Cats
Cats will usually make a full recovery from angelica tree poisoning. The vet may choose to monitor your cat before allowing you to take him home. This is done to ensure your cat is in a stable condition and is no longer dehydrated from vomiting and having diarrhea.
Talk to the vet about whether you need to make any dietary changes while your cat recovers. The vet may recommend switching to gentle, soft foods and ensuring your cat drinks plenty of fluids until he is able to regain his strength.
If your cat spends a lot of time outdoors, you may want to consider bringing him inside after he has been poisoned by an angelica tree. The more time your cat spends outdoors, the more likely it is that he will come into contact with this toxin again, so it’s best to keep your cat inside as much as possible.