What is Cornstalk Plant Poisoning?
The corn plant, also called the cornstalk plant, money tree, lucky bamboo, dragon tree, dracaena and ribbon plant, is toxic to cats. This ornamental plant contains saponins, which cause severe stomach upset for your cat, should it be unfortunate enough to nibble part of a cornstalk plant. While cats can become severely ill after eating from a corn plant, the poisoning isn’t deadly. Immediate veterinary care to help remove any plant bits in the cat’s mouth and stomach will help to resolve the poisoning and its symptoms.
Symptoms of Cornstalk Plant Poisoning in Cats
Your cat’s poisoning symptoms after ingesting parts of a corn plant may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive drooling
- Abdominal pain
- Vomiting (sometimes violent and with blood)
- Increased heart rate
- Drunken appearance
- Dilated eyes
- Wobbly walking (kittens)
- Physical weakness
Causes of Cornstalk Plant Poisoning in Cats
Even though potentially dangerous, cats may eat from houseplants and outdoor landscaping.
Factors that can influence the likelihood of corn plant poisoning include:
- Easy access to corn plants and other potentially poisonous houseplants and landscaping
- Ability to roam outdoors
- Lack of mental stimulation
Diagnosis of Cornstalk Plant Poisoning in Cats
Your cat will be obviously ill after eating from a cornstalk plant. If you saw it nibbling a cornstalk plant or corn plant, cut off bits of these plants and put them into a plastic bag. Check inside your cat’s mouth, because it may still have bits of plant matter that it hasn’t swallowed.
At the vet’s office, explain your cat’s exact symptoms and tell the vet what your cat was doing before it became ill. After finding out that your cat may have been poisoned, your vet will complete a physical exam of your cat. They may also take urine and blood samples to help determine the exact poison making your feline ill.
When cats eat a corn plant, their eyes may become dilated. After looking at the plant samples you brought in, this will help the vet to make a more conclusive diagnosis. If your cat is still a kitten, the “drunk walking” will be one of the most characteristic signs of corn plant poisoning for your vet.
Treatment of Cornstalk Plant Poisoning in Cats
The vet will treat the cat’s symptoms, as it helps the cat to recover. Your cat may start to vomit spontaneously as its body tries to rid itself of the plant material and poisons in its body. The vet will help by treating the vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. Your cat will get copious fluids via an IV line to help rehydrate it. Symptoms should start retreating within twelve to twenty-four hours.
Recovery of Cornstalk Plant Poisoning in Cats
Poisoning by the cornstalk or corn plant is usually not fatal. The cat will be very sick and uncomfortable while the poison is moving through its system, but once it has been expelled from the cat’s stomach and intestines, it will recover fully.
While your cat is being treated at the vet’s office, remove all corn plants or cornstalk plants from your home. It’s best to remove all plants known to be poisonous to cats. Roaming outdoors can expose cats to potentially dangerous plants in other yards. Limiting the cat’s outdoor access and planting indoor pots of grasses safe for cats will let them indulge their love of nibbling on greens and remain content indoors.