What is Gloriosa Lily Poisoning?
While these flowers are beautiful, brightening up a spot in your home, if you have cats, you may need to pass up the pleasure of allowing them into your home. This particular lily variety contains a toxin called colchicine alkaloids, which is deadly to cells that divide rapidly. The roots or tubers of this flower are particularly high in colchicine alkaloids, which, if your cat eats them, can cause several of its organs to fail. If you realize your cat has eaten any part of a glory lily, take it to the vet right away. The sooner treatment is started, the better chance of recovery your cat has.
The gloriosa lily, also called the glory lily, is one of several lilies that are potentially deadly for cats. Though this lily doesn’t always lead to kidney failure, the consequences of poisoning may include organ damage and death.
Symptoms of Gloriosa Lily Poisoning in Cats
About two hours after your cat eats any part of a glory lily, it will begin to show symptoms of toxic poisoning:
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Hiding from human and animal family members
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Excessive drooling
- Redness of mucous membranes of the eyes, tongue and mouth
- Physical weakness
- Multi-organ failure
Signs of liver failure include:
- Swollen abdomen (result of fluid retention)
- Continued anorexia
- Continued vomiting
- Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
- Abdominal pain
If your cat doesn’t receive treatment within hours of being poisoned, organ failure will begin (within 24 to 72 hours).
Causes of Gloriosa Lily Poisoning in Cats
The glory lily contains toxic colchicine alkaloids, which are highly damaging to your cat’s blood cells. As the blood cells fail, your cat goes into multi-organ failure and, if not treated, it could die. The roots and tubers of the glory lily are especially poisonous.
Your cat needs physical and mental stimulation so it won’t become bored. Along with keeping all lily varieties out of your home, provide several play and interaction opportunities each day for your cat. In this way, it will be less likely to begin nibbling at your houseplants or flowers.
Diagnosis of Gloriosa Lily Poisoning in Cats
You may have caught your cat eating a glory lily. Even if you’re not sure just how dangerous this plant is, take your cat to the vet before it becomes symptomatic. In addition, bring a sample of the lily with you so your vet can test it for the poisonous compound making your cat sick. If you know how much of the lily your cat ate, what part it ate, and when it ate the lily, your vet has much more to go on as they begin treatment.
Before beginning treatment, your vet must physically examine your cat, taking its temperature, noting its physical appearance, monitoring its blood pressure, pulse oximetry, weight, blood pressure, lung sounds, heart rate and number of respirations. The vet will also closely examine your cat’s mouth, ears, eyes, and nose. The vet also takes a urine and blood sample so the levels of lipase, glucose, and amylase can be measured. Blood work includes a complete blood count, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), biochemistry profile and blood gases will be tested.
Your cat may be anesthetized and undergo an endoscopy. This allows the vet to remove any bits of plant remaining in your cat’s stomach. These will also be tested so the vet knows for sure that your cat ate glory lily.
Treatment of Gloriosa Lily Poisoning in Cats
Once your vet has pinned down poisoning by glory lily, they will start intravenous fluid therapy to rehydrate your cat. This may extend for several days, meaning your cat needs to be admitted to an animal hospital.
The vet will want to remove the colchicine alkaloids in your cat’s body. Your cat will receive a solution of hydrogen peroxide, which will cause your cat to vomit. After this treatment, the vet gives activated charcoal to your cat, if it has been three hours or less since it ate the lily. Your cat may also undergo a gastric lavage, which helps to remove the rest of the flower from your cat’s system, as well as any remaining poisons. Medication to relieve nausea and vomiting will also be given.
The potential for kidney failure still exists. The vet will give a saline solution two or three times during treatment to prevent this. If kidney failure has already begun, your cat may need dialysis to reverse the effects of damage to its kidneys. Because glory lily has such a bad effect on your cat’s liver, treatment to reduce liver failure may be needed as well.
Because of the potential for such severe health consequences, your cat should really be treated in the animal hospital. Home treatments are not sufficient to allow your cat a full recovery.
Recovery of Gloriosa Lily Poisoning in Cats
Your cat has the best chance of recovery if your vet can begin treatment within eight hours of it becoming poisoned. As long as it hasn’t begun to develop liver or kidney damage, its chances of survival are also good.
If its kidneys and liver have already begun to fail, your vet will recommend supportive treatment to offer comfort to your cat.
Before your cat comes home, remove all lilies, both in your house and in your garden. Your cat won’t make the connection between eating a lily and getting sick, so you’ll have to ensure that it is safe from all poisonous plants or flowers. Even if you’re sure you’ve placed a glory lily so high your cat can’t get to it, remember just how resourceful your cat may be. It’s just too risky to have lilies in your home; cats are drawn to the beauty and colors of lilies and their curious nature leads them into trouble.