What is Asian Lily Poisoning?
Asian lily poisoning can cause death quickly. If your cat is showing signs of poisoning, you will need to rush it to the vet immediately in order to secure the best prognosis. If the Asian lily is a household plant, take it with you when you go to the vet.
The Asian lily, also known as the Asiatic lily or the Oriental lily, is a type of flower that is very poisonous to cats. This plant is not poisonous to other animals. Other types of lilies, though not poisonous, may cause minor symptoms such as mouth irritation and drooling. The Asian lily, however, is very toxic to cats. If a cat ingests as little as two petals or drinks water from a vase containing the flower, kidney failure can occur.
Symptoms of Asian Lily Poisoning in Cats
Asian lily poisoning must be treated quickly in order to prevent kidney failure. Seek immediate veterinary attention as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in behavior
Signs of kidney failure to watch for include:
- Excessive urination
- Weight loss
- Blood-tinged vomit or diarrhea
Causes of Asian Lily Poisoning in Cats
The primary cause of Asian lily poisoning in cats is ingestion of the flower. Cats can also be poisoned by drinking water out of a vase occupied by the Asian lily. A cat will become poisoned by ingesting only a small amount of the petals or pollen of the flower.
Diagnosis of Asian Lily Poisoning in Cats
A physical examination and presentation of symptoms are usually sufficient to make a tentative diagnosis of poisoning. Confirming the ingestion of Asian lily plant material or of its presence in your home will help your vet make a definitive diagnosis. Blood and/or urine tests may be required to confirm kidney damage or failure. After the diagnosis has been made, your vet will start emergency treatment immediately.
Treatment of Asian Lily Poisoning in Cats
Treatment may vary depending on how quickly the poisoning is caught and treated.
Emergency treatment may involve induced vomiting or using activated charcoal to stop toxin absorption. The primary objective of emergency treatment is to purge the poison from the cat’s body as quickly as possible.
For the best prognosis, intravenous fluid therapy must be administered within eighteen hours of the initial poisoning. If your cat is vomiting profusely, nutritional therapy may also be required. During this time, your vet will monitor your cat’s kidney function for signs of renal failure. Other treatment methods may be utilized based on your cat’s level of poisoning.
If kidney failure has occurred, your cat will need to be hospitalized for up to four days depending on the severity. Treating acute kidney failure will involve aggressive fluid therapy. The primary objective of treatment is to restore the balance of electrolytes and fluids.
Other, more complex procedures such as peritoneal hemodialysis may be recommended depending on the owner’s financial and personal preferences. During this procedure, the vet will insert a catheter into the jugular vein. The cat’s blood will then be filtered through an artificial kidney before the blood is returned into the body via the catheter. This procedure is only available in select areas.
Recovery of Asian Lily Poisoning in Cats
Recovery and prognosis may vary depending on how quickly the poison was treated, as well as whether or not there was any damage to the kidneys. Always follow your vet’s post-treatment and/or post-operative instructions carefully.
On the return home, ensure your cat has a warm, safe place to rest. If your cat came into contact with the plant through outdoor activity, you may want to restrict access to the outdoors to prevent future poisoning. If your cat came into contact with the Asian lily because it was a household plant, you should remove it immediately. Be careful to research plants that are poisonous to cats so that you can avoid purchasing a dangerous or toxic plant in the future.
For some cases of poisoning that are treated quickly and effectively, follow-up appointments may not be necessary. If acute kidney failure has occurred, your vet may schedule follow-up appointments as needed to monitor kidney function. If your cat is undergoing hemodialysis, sessions will last up to five hours and will be scheduled as often as needed.