What is Clivia Lily Poisoning?
Soon after ingestion, your cat may start to show symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, frequent urination, convulsions, and loss of appetite. It is estimated that complete kidney failure can occur within 24 to 72 hours after ingesting part of the clivia lily plant. Because of this, it is imperative you take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as you recognize any of these symptoms or if you catch him in the act of eating the plant. There is no antidote for clivia lily poisoning, but there are other effective treatment methods available.
The clivia lily, which is also known as the kaffir lily, caffre lily, cape clivia, and klivia, is often used in floral arrangements or as a decorative plant in residential landscaping. But, this flower contains lycorine and other alkaloids that are toxic to cats when ingested. Although the bulb is considered the most toxic part of the plant, cat owners should not allow their cat to eat any part of this dangerous flower.
Symptoms of Clivia Lily Poisoning in Cats
Your cat may begin to exhibit symptoms of clivia lily poisoning immediately following ingestion of the plant. Symptoms may start off slow and worsen as time goes on, so don’t wait to get your cat medical help. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Excessive salivation
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Loss of appetite
Causes of Clivia Lily Poisoning in Cats
Clivia lily poisoning is caused by ingestion of the clivia lily plant, which contains lycorine and other alkaloids that are toxic to animals. Ingesting even a small amount of clivia lily can cause some degree of poisoning. Every part of the plant is toxic, but the bulbs contain the highest concentration of toxins and are therefore the most dangerous.
Diagnosis of Clivia Lily Poisoning in Cats
Take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as you spot symptoms of clivia lily poisoning, or if you happen to catch your cat eating this plant. If you aren’t sure what has caused your cat’s symptoms, try to bring in a sample of your cat’s vomit so the vet can examine its contents. Tell the vet what symptoms you have observed, when they first began, and if you know of any toxins your cat may have been exposed to around your home.
There is no test to diagnose clivia lily poisoning, so most diagnoses are made based on the symptoms and the owner witnessing the cat eating the plant. If you did not see your cat eat the plant, the vet may need to examine the contents of your cat’s stomach to look for signs as to what could be causing the symptoms. He should be able to find pieces of a clivia lily, which will confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of Clivia Lily Poisoning in Cats
Treatment will begin immediately following the diagnosis. If your cat is severely dehydrated or suffering from an electrolyte imbalance because of vomiting and diarrhea, he will need to be given fluids intravenously.
The vet will need to induce vomiting to remove any of the toxins that remain in your cat’s stomach. Once the vet is confident all of the stomach contents have exited your cat’s body, he may perform a gastric lavage, which is the medical term for stomach wash. This will remove any toxins that remain attached to your cat’s stomach lining. The vet could also administer activated charcoal, which will absorb any toxins in your cat’s body before they enter the bloodstream.
If your cat is suffering from convulsions as a result of the poisoning, the vet can administer anticonvulsant medication to make him more comfortable.
The vet may ask to keep your cat for the next few days so he can continue to monitor him until your cat is in stable condition.
Recovery of Clivia Lily Poisoning in Cats
Cats that receive treatment soon after ingesting the toxin have a much better chance of recovering than cats whose treatment is delayed. Most cats will recover quickly if they receive treatment in the first few hours after eating the clivia lily plant.
Once your cat has returned home, try to keep him calm while he regains his strength. Move his food and water bowls next to him so he does not have to move around much in the days following treatment. You should talk to your vet about what foods your cat should eat, since his stomach will probably be very sensitive.
Remove any clivia lily plants from your home and yard. If you are ever given a floral arrangement, make sure you thoroughly check it for clivia lilies before placing it in your home. It’s recommended you keep your cat indoors so he is not exposed to this plant in another person’s yard.