What is Golden Pothos Poisoning?

These crystals cause an extreme amount of discomfort. If your cat has golden pothos poisoning, he may begin to drool excessively, vomit, or paw at his mouth in an attempt to relieve the burning sensation caused by the crystals. He could also have difficulty swallowing because of swelling or discomfort.

Most cats will make a full recovery, but because cats with golden pothos poisoning are in a great deal of pain, you should seek assistance from a veterinarian right away to make your cat more comfortable. Golden pothos poisoning can also cause your cat’s airway to swell up if the symptoms are left untreated, which is one more reason why you should seek help immediately.

The golden pothos plant, also known as the pothos, devil’s ivy, taro vine, or ivy arum, is toxic to cats. The leaves and stem of the golden pothos contain calcium oxalate crystals, which are toxic and can penetrate soft tissue in the mouth, throat, and stomach. 

Symptoms of Golden Pothos Poisoning in Cats

The symptoms of golden pothos poisoning will typically manifest immediately after your cat begins to chew on or consume the plant. Some of the symptoms you should be on the lookout for include:

  • Pain in the oral cavity
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty swallowing

Causes of Golden Pothos Poisoning in Cats

Golden pothos poisoning occurs when your cat bites, chews, or consumes the golden pothos plant. Every part of the plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, which are released into the cat’s mouth when he bites down on the plant. The crystals penetrate soft tissue in the mouth, throat, and stomach and immediately cause irritation and a burning sensation.

Diagnosis of Golden Pothos Poisoning in Cats

If you spot your cat chewing on a golden pothos plant, or if you begin to observe the symptoms of golden pothos poisoning, take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If you see your cat chewing on the plant, take a picture or sample of it so the vet can easily diagnose your cat’s condition. Be sure to describe the symptoms you have observed in as much detail as possible. There is no test that can confirm a diagnosis of golden pothos poisoning, so your vet will rely heavily on the information you provide.

The vet will begin with a physical examination. After examining your cat’s oral cavity, the vet should be able to identify the presence of calcium oxalate crystals, which indicate that your cat has been exposed to a poisonous plant that contains this toxin. Many plants contain calcium oxalate crystals, so the vet may not be able to tell you exactly which plant caused your cat’s condition. 

Treatment of Golden Pothos Poisoning in Cats

Treatment will need to begin as soon as possible after a diagnosis has been made. The first goal of treatment is to make your cat more comfortable by alleviating pain in his mouth, throat, and stomach. To do this, the vet will thoroughly wash out his mouth and remove any crystals that he can. A gastric lavage, which is the medical term for a stomach wash, can also be used to flush out the cat’s stomach. The vet may feed your cat dairy products such as yogurt or cheese. These food items are known to relieve pain caused by calcium oxalate crystals.

Benadryl may also be given to your cat to prevent swelling. Without this medication, the cat’s symptoms may worsen and his airway may begin to swell. This can lead to life-threatening complications, so vets often try to avoid it by administering Benadryl early on in treatment.

If your cat has been vomiting, the vet can also administer Kapectolin or sucralfate to coat the stomach lining and prevent further irritation. Vomiting can also lead to dehydration, so the vet will be closely monitoring your cat to see if he needs to receive IV fluids.

Recovery of Golden Pothos Poisoning in Cats

Most cats fully recover from golden pothos poisoning and will be sent home with you immediately following treatment. If your cat was dehydrated or experienced a swollen airway, the vet may keep him until he has regained his strength.

Before you take your cat home, talk to the vet about any dietary changes you should make. The vet may recommend sticking to softer, gentler foods while the cat’s mouth and stomach recover after treatment. 

It’s important to prevent future exposure to the golden pothos plant. Talk to your vet about which plants are toxic to cats, and make sure all of them have been removed from your home and garden. If you believe your neighbors could have toxic plants in their yards, it’s best to keep your cat indoors as much as possible.