What is Black Laurel Poisoning?
Black Laurel contains a poison called grayanotoxins, which disrupt the cat’s sodium channels. These affect the cardiac muscle and the cat’s skeletal system. Black Laurel is potentially deadly to cats, even if they eat only a few leaves. The cat’s cardiovascular system goes into collapse, then the cat can go into a coma. If the cat isn’t taken to the vet as soon as it shows signs of poisoning, toxicity may be fatal.
If you get your cat to the vet immediately so that treatment can begin as soon as possible, the cat’s prognosis is fair.
Cats are naturally very careful about what they sniff, touch, nibble or eat, but their curiosity still makes them vulnerable to poisoning from common plants, house plants, and flowers, such as the black laurel.
Symptoms of Black Laurel Poisoning in Cats
After your cat has eaten from a black laurel plant, it will begin to show several signs of poisoning:
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive salivation
- Abnormal heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Transient blindness
Causes of Black Laurel Poisoning in Cats
Eating just a few leaves of black laurel can make your cat seriously ill. Black laurel, which is also called sierra laurel, dog laurel, dog hobble or fetter bush, poses a high level of risk for dogs, horses, and cats.
Your cat may love to go outside, roam around, sniff the breeze and nibble on some tempting foliage. Cats are also fastidious about their cleanliness, which puts them at risk if they brush up against a plant that is poisonous to them. While it may seem harmless for the leaves of a plant to brush against their body, they will soon lick their fur and ingest that poison. As you choose plants for your home or garden, choose carefully for the sake of your cat.
Factors that contribute to a cat’s risk of plant poisoning include:
- Cats’ natural curiosity
- Roaming outdoors
- Nibbling on indoor and outdoor plants
- Brushing against the leaves and flowers of poisonous plants
- Not throwing plant clippings away after gardening. Sap, roots, and rhizomes can make your cat sick
Diagnosis of Black Laurel Poisoning in Cats
You’ll be able to tell fairly quickly when your cat has been poisoned. Even if you only suspect that it has ingested something harmful or potentially deadly, call your vet and take the cat in right away. Your vet will examine your cat and ask about its symptoms, which can include severe diarrhea, vomiting, stomach distress, difficulty breathing or skin irritation, which includes blistering, raw and red skin. Your cat’s mouth may also show signs of irritation.
Other symptoms your vet looks for may include not wanting to eat or drink, or showing signs of lethargy. A part of the cat’s exam includes a full physical. Your vet will take a blood sample to figure out what your cat ate. If you know what your cat nibbled on, bring a small sample in a plastic bag. If possible, bring some of the cat’s vomit or stool as well. This may help the vet determine more precisely what is making your cat sick.
Treatment of Black Laurel Poisoning in Cats
If your vet knows that your cat ate even a little bit of black laurel, they may choose to induce vomiting and will likely administer fluid therapy, and possibly oxygen therapy. Medication may be prescribed to promote proper heart function. It’s vital that, as soon as you realize your cat has eaten a poisonous plant, you get it to the vet for evaluation and treatment.
Recovery of Black Laurel Poisoning in Cats
Prognosis after black laurel poisoning will depend on the amount of plant material a cat ingested and how soon it receives treatment. With only minor consumption and prompt care, a cat may make a quick and full recovery.
Before you bring your cat home from the veterinary office, go through your house and garden to remove poisonous plants. If this isn’t possible, and the cat likes to roam outdoors, create a safe outdoor environment with a cat run, fencing or even a spacious cat patio attached to your house.
Indulge your cat’s love of nibbling greenery by providing barley, wheat grass, oat grass and rye grass. Buy large containers (large enough for your cat to lie in) and plant one or more of these grass varieties. Once the grass is well-established, introduce your cat to this, allowing it to lounge on the “lawn” and nibble.