What is Arum Lily Poisoning?
If you are given a bouquet of flowers, check it thoroughly before bringing it into the house and discard lilies to prevent poisoning in cats. Consider every part of a lily to be potentially deadly for your cat. If lily poisoning isn’t treated quickly, the resulting renal failure can be fatal.
All categories of lilies are potentially deadly for cats. Arum lily is no exception. Even if your cat doesn’t ingest any part of the lily, the smallest amount of pollen on your cat’s fur can send it into severe kidney failure. From the time of first exposure to the development of symptoms, six to twelve hours may pass. Depending on the lily species, your cat can be poisoned by calcium oxalate crystals or proteinase. Cats are highly sensitive to both of these toxins. Your cat will have more than stomach upset; it will stagger, become disoriented and may develop seizures.
Symptoms of Arum Lily Poisoning in Cats
Arum lily causes distinct symptoms in poisoned cats:
- Pawing at the mouth
- Violent shaking of the head
- Intense burning sensation in and around the mouth
- Drooling and salivation
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain and swelling of the mouth and lips
- Cat’s voice is oddly weak and hoarse
- Acute inflammation of the mouth and throat
- Edema (swelling) of the cat’s throat, tongue and lips
- Excessive thirst
- Excessive urination
- Pulse races or is irregular
- Extreme difficulty breathing (rapid, shallow gasps)
As your cat goes into renal failure, these symptoms develop:
- Partial or complete loss of appetite
In the late stages of arum lily poisoning, the calcium oxalate leads to permanent liver and kidney damage. As soon as your cat begins to show signs of illness or poisoning, you should take it to the vet, especially if you realize it has come into contact with a lily. The first signs of poisoning may show up within two hours.
Causes of Arum Lily Poisoning in Cats
Cats are highly curious creatures. Their natural caution about new foods, plants and substances may be overcome by that curiosity:
- Kittens or cats that haven’t been trained to stay away from plants and flowers
- Lilies in the cat’s living environment
- A safer plant, such as grass, isn’t readily available for nibbling
- Owner’s lack of awareness of what is potentially deadly for cats
Diagnosis of Arum Lily Poisoning in Cats
As soon as you realize your cat may have been poisoned by eating, licking or brushing up against an arum lily, get it to the vet’s office immediately. Your vet will perform a quick physical exam of the cat. If you have any samples of the lily, bring them with you. In addition, if your cat has already begun to vomit or have diarrhea, bring samples with you so the vet can have them tested for the poison making your cat sick. Your cat will undergo blood draws, which allow the vet to identify exactly what has poisoned your cat.
Once the vet has narrowed down the substance making your cat sick, they will be given the appropriate treatment. Early diagnosis is vital; if your cat receives veterinary treatment within eighteen hours of coming into contact with an arum lily, it should recover completely.
Treatment of Arum Lily Poisoning in Cats
Once the vet knows what has poisoned your cat, they will prescribe and give it medications that help the cat to eliminate all parts of the lily from its system. Your cat will also be given fluids intravenously to keep it from becoming dehydrated. This may continue for up to 48 hours.
Your vet may give diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to your cat to prevent or reverse airway swelling and discomfort. Your cat may also be given sucralfate, which coats its stomach. Sucralfate reacts with your cat’s stomach acids, forming a paste and acting as a barrier between its stomach lining and the contents of its stomach. For stomach upset, the vet may give Kapectolin, which helps to protect the cat’s stomach lining as well.
Prompt treatment is essential to recovery from arum lily poisoining. Rather than attempt to treat your cat at home to relieve its symptoms, get to the vet right away. Your cat is at risk of developing an anaphylactic reaction to the lily it ingested or came into contact with. If this happens, your cat should be under close veterinary observation.
Recovery of Arum Lily Poisoning in Cats
If your cat is taken to the vet well within eighteen hours of becoming poisoned by an arum lily, it has an excellent chance of surviving its illness. Because of the risk of kidney damage, your cat will need treatment to prevent kidney failure, and the sooner this is started, the better. While even a little amount of a lily can make your cat very ill, the bitter taste of the leaves and flowers may discourage it from eating very much.
Learn which lily types are dangerous for your cat and avoid them. Those to avoid, along with the arum lily, include Asiatic lilies, tiger lilies and daylilies. In your garden, remove any lilies that may have already been planted and replace them with more cat-friendly plants or flowers.
Indoors and outdoors, provide grasses that cats can easily and safely eat, such as oat, rye and wheatgrass. Help your cat to indulge its love of nibbling greens and keep it away from poisonous plants.
Arum Lily Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
I noticed my cat has vomited clear liquid 2-3 times today and hasn't eaten much or any of her food. I did have a lily flower in a bouquet on my counter that had just started to open. Should I take her to the vet?
Heya! I have a bunch of arum lillies plants in my garden but they're not flowering. Are they still a risk? Or is it just the pollen that gets them?
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