What is Chinese Jade Poisoning?
The primary symptoms of Chinese jade Poisoning in cats are vomiting and depression, which may be mistaken for other forms of feline illness. Chinese jade poisoning is difficult to pinpoint in cats unless the ingestion of the plant was witnessed, so paying close attention to the clinical signs is crucial.
A member of the Crassulaceae family, the Chinese jade plant is known throughout the world by its scientific name: Crassula argentea. The Chinese jade plant is also known by its common names, including: Japanese rubber plant, Chinese rubber plant, the Jade tree, the Dwarf rubber plant and baby jade. The Chinese jade plant is native to South Africa, but can be found all over the world due to its hardy nature. Although easily grown both indoors and out, the Chinese jade plant is a popular houseplant, which poses a high risk for feline toxic fatality. The Chinese jade plant can be identified by its fleshy blue-gray or dark green rounded leaves and thick, strong stems. This unique plant resembles a small tree in appearance, but in the winter time, a cluster of pink or white star-shaped flowers will appear near the leaves.
Symptoms of Chinese Jade Poisoning in Cats
Chinese jade poisoning causes two primary symptoms in cats:
Ingesting any portion of the Chinese jade plant can cause the feline to vomit within 15 to 20 minutes and signs of depression are soon to follow. A depressed cat often seeks isolation for periods of time, sleeps more than normal, and develops a noticeable change in personality, commonly seen in the form of aggression. Additionally, the feline may become lethargic, the heart rate may slow down, and the feline may show signs of impaired muscle movements.
Causes of Chinese Jade Poisoning in Cats
Chinese jade poisoning in cats is caused by the ingestions of all portions of the Jade plant, including the stem, leaves, petals, roots and seeds. The toxic components of the Chinese Jade plant are unknown but are considered toxic to both felines and canine species.
Diagnosis of Chinese Jade Poisoning in Cats
Diagnosing a Chinese jade poisoning case is difficult, as there is no specific test available for identifying this type of toxicity. Your veterinarian’s diagnosis will be based on ruling out other possible causes of your feline’s current condition that could cause similar symptoms. The diagnostic process will include a physical examination, a review of the feline’s medical history, and a consultation with the pet owner.
It is important to inform the veterinarian about your feline’s recent actions and possible exposure to the Chinese jade plant, as this information will aid in ruling out other possible causes. The clinical signs that Chinese jade poisoning causes in cats, such as vomiting and depression, are the same symptoms as several other feline-related health conditions. The veterinarian will conduct a series of diagnostic tests to ensure your cat is truly suffering from a Chinese jade plant toxicity and not a more severe underlying condition.
Diagnostic tests the veterinarian will likely request include:
- CBC (complete blood cell count)
- Biochemical profile (blood work)
- Blood smear test
- Urinalysis (examination of urine)
- Fecal floatation test
- Fecal examination
Treatment of Chinese Jade Poisoning in Cats
Chinese jade poisoning in cats is treated by removing the plant from the feline to prevent further ingestion and eliminating the toxins from the cat’s body. To eliminate the undigested toxin from the cat’s stomach, an emetic drug will be administered to encourage the feline to vomit. If your cat has not vomited, activated charcoal will likely be administered by the veterinarian. Activated charcoal will bind with the toxic agent and prevent the body from further absorption of the plant’s chemicals. The feline’s treatment may end with intravenous fluids to restore his or her hydration, as vomiting and diarrhea will cause the cat’s fluid levels to drop significantly.
Recovery of Chinese Jade Poisoning in Cats
The prognosis for Chinese jade poisoning in cats is guarded and depends greatly on the amount of plant material consumed. As with all plant toxicity cases, the earlier the feline is admitted to the veterinary hospital, the greater chance she/he has of making a full recovery.