What is Daisy Poisoning?
Daisies are a common wild flower most often found in temperate European regions. They are very hardy, and whilst some varieties are grown deliberately in flower beds to enhance the look of the garden, most daisies will appear of their own volition in lawns, meadows and forest floors. Despite their commonality, however, daisies can be quite toxic to a variety of animals, including cats. The side effects of consuming daisies can, in some cases, prove extremely dangerous.
Symptoms of Daisy Poisoning in Cats
The symptoms of daisy poisoning are fortunately quite pronounced, meaning that owners can quickly ascertain that there is something wrong with their pet and get them the appropriate medical attention.
A few hours after eating the daisy flower, the cat will begin to vomit in an attempt to purge the toxins in the plant from its digestive tract. Although not especially dangerous by itself, owners should be aware that vomiting contributes to dehydration and giving the cat access to water will prevent complications stemming from the condition.
The second symptom of daisy poisoning is loss of control of the bowels. Owners may notice that the feces is darker in color than usual. Diarrhea can be quite serious if it persists for any considerable length of time, as the large amount of fluid lost in the process can quickly induce dehydration, especially when coupled with vomiting. Dehydration can, in turn, be extremely hazardous to the cat's well-being.
In severe cases of daisy poisoning, the cat can begin to bleed internally. This is largely confined to the digestive tract and is noticeable by streaks of red blood in the feces and vomit of the cat. Intestinal bleeding can also cause the feces to appear almost black in color, as the blood mixes with the mucus and fluids that are already present in the large intestine. Although the bleeding is by itself not usually dangerous, it can be a good indicator of the seriousness of the cat's condition.
Some of the chemicals contained within daisies can prompt an allergic response in cats, which usually manifests itself as a rash at the spot where the cat came into contact with the plant. Note that the animal will typically start scratching or biting these spots in an attempt to alleviate the irritation.
Loss of Coordination
Owners may notice that after ingesting plant material from daisies, their cat cannot walk normally or manipulate objects with its normal level of dexterity. It may also appear somewhat subdued in behavior, exhibiting an unusual degree of apathy towards other animals and its surroundings. Additionally, some owners may notice a slight change in the sound of their cat’s voice.
Cats affected by daisy poisoning may begin to drool uncontrollably or develop a foam around their mouth. Owners should be quick to offer the cat water in order to replace the fluids lost in the form of saliva.
Causes of Daisy Poisoning in Cats
There are several chemicals present in daisies that produce the bulk of the symptoms observed in an affected cat. The first is sesquiterpene, a potent irritant that is produced by many plants in order to ward off predators. It is sesquiterpene that causes skin irritation and increased salivation, as well as contributing to vomiting and diarrhea and causing irritation and bleeding within the digestive tract. Also present in daisies are toxins known as 'pyrethrins', which can be especially dangerous to cats due to their ability to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Pyrethrins have an effect on the nervous system which is similar to that of neurotoxins (i.e. causing neurons to fire involuntarily). This is responsible for the cat's lack of coordination and in large enough doses, pyrethrins can cause breathing difficulties and even death.
Diagnosis of Daisy Poisoning in Cats
When the cat is brought to the clinic, the first thing that the vet will do is perform a basic physical examination. This will check for skin sensitivity, response to stimulus such as light or food, and help eliminate possible causes of the poisoning. They will also have a number of questions for the owner regarding the symptoms that they have observed and the pace at which they developed. By having answers prepared before attending the appointment, owners help speed up the diagnostic process considerably. Additionally, the vet may also wish to perform a series of tests on the cat's blood in order to rule out the presence of additional toxins.
Treatment of Daisy Poisoning in Cats
The most immediately effective treatment for poisoning is to start fluid therapy for the cat. By adding more liquid to the animal's body, the vet will be able to cause many of the toxins present to be expelled via urination and dilute the chemicals that have been metabolized into the bloodstream. Furthermore, fluid therapy will help alleviate the symptoms of dehydration that may be caused by an extended period of vomiting and diarrhea. If the cat is still demonstrating an aversion to food, it may be necessary to administer drugs that will protect the lining of the stomach from digestive acids, thereby preventing further damage and irritation.
Recovery of Daisy Poisoning in Cats
The majority of cats poisoned by ingesting daisies will make a relatively speedy recovery, with most symptoms clearing up within less than a week. Owners should still be mindful of their pet's need for rest however, and therefore should provide a fairly bland diet and restrict their cat's activity for several days after the poisoning. In more severe cases, a cat may require follow-up visits to the vet to monitor their progress, as well as observation from their owners to make sure that they do not suffer the more serious side effects of pyrethrin ingestion.
Daisy Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My cat started vomiting a bit of blood and eventually started having bloody Diarrhea this morning. we took to the vet and he is on drips. How long can the item he might have eaten remain in his digestive tract? Cat is responsive but shows signs he is in pain. since Morning, cat is still discharging bloody diarrhea (smaller quantities now)
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