What is Green Gold Naphthysis Poisoning?
Green gold naphthysis (also known as 'nephthytis' or 'arrowhead vine') is a leafy flowering plant that originates from Southeast Asia and West Africa. In modern times, gardeners all over the world have started to use its bushy appearance to flesh out otherwise sparse borders and flowerbeds. However, despite its usefulness to horticulturalists, green gold naphthysis can be surprisingly toxic, provoking a serious and unpleasant set of symptoms in a variety of animals, including household cats.
Symptoms of Green Gold Naphthysis Poisoning in Cats
Green gold naphthysis poisoning has some fairly obvious symptoms, which should quickly alert owners that there is a problem with their pet and give them plenty of time to seek medical help. Whilst not usually life-threatening by themselves, the symptoms of green gold naphthysis poisoning can lead to serious complications. For this reason, owners should keep a close eye on the progression of the condition so that they can relay useful information to their vet.
Once the cat in question has ingested green gold naphthysis matter, it will begin to experience some digestive discomfort. This nausea can be identified by an aversion to food, sensitivity to touch and a general avoidance of social contact. Within a few hours, this discomfort will progress to a stage where the cat begins to attempt to regurgitate the toxins it has eaten. Owners can differentiate this from normal stomach upset by the continuous nature of the vomiting. In some cases, there can be a small amount of blood mixed in with the stomach contents. Sustained vomiting can be surprisingly dangerous to an animal the size of a cat, due to the speed at which a large quantity of fluid is expelled from the body. This can quickly lead to dehydration, which can in turn lead to organ failure, loss of consciousness and even death. To avoid this, owners should make extra liquid available for their cat to drink as the vomiting subsides.
Characteristic of green gold naphthysis poisoning is irritation of the tissues in the mouth and throat. There are a couple of separate manners in which this irritation can show itself. The first sign is redness and swelling around the lips and nose, with a surprisingly severe degree of disfigurement sometimes being visible if the cat has ingested a large quantity of the plant. In some cases, this swelling can occur in the tongue and tissues of the throat, potentially resulting in labored breathing or difficulty swallowing, as well as a noticeable change in the cat's voice. Another way that an owner will notice the problem is by observing the tell-tale drooling that occurs when the animal tries to 'flush' the toxins from its mouth by producing extra saliva. This may run straight out of the mouth as normal, or instead turn into a foam around the cat's lips. Needless to say, this drooling can also provoke dehydration, so owners should be sure to make extra fluids available as needed.
Causes of Green Gold Naphthysis Poisoning in Cats
Green gold naphthysis produces substances known as 'insoluble oxalates'. As the name implies, these oxalates are usually stored in a liquid form known as oxalic acid. However, in some plants (including the green gold naphthysis) they cannot convert into a solution, instead being stored as tiny crystals within the body of the plant. The mechanism by which these crystals cause such severe symptoms is surprisingly simple; when a cat ingests the plant matter, the oxalate crystals are released and embed themselves into the animal's tissues. Due to the acidity and sharpness of the oxalates, this causes a massive degree of irritation throughout the mouth and digestive tract, provoking the swelling and vomiting that can cause a serious risk to the cat's health. If enough of the green gold naphthysis is eaten by the cat, there is a chance that the level of oxalates metabolized by the cat can rise high enough to cause problems with the kidneys. However, due to the speed with which the plant causes damage to the mouth, such a scenario is unsurprisingly rare.
Diagnosis of Green Gold Naphthysis Poisoning in Cats
When the cat is presented to the clinic, the first thing that the vet will normally do is to perform a physical inspection of the cat in order to assess the nature and stage of progression of its symptoms. This may be accompanied by some sort of visual inspection of the digestive tract (either via an endoscopy or an ultrasound imaging scan) in order to provide them with a greater level of detail. Whilst green gold naphthysis poisoning can usually be diagnosed via the symptoms alone, the vet may also have some additional questions for the owner of the cat regarding the animal's daily routine and normal living environment. This means that having information ready prior to visiting the vet will speed up the process of accurately diagnosing the problem considerably.
Treatment of Green Gold Naphthysis Poisoning in Cats
The oxalate crystals present in green gold naphthysis will usually be removed naturally from the body over a period of several days. However, to mitigate the effects of the oxalic acid on the body, the vet will often administer a dose of activated charcoal to absorb the toxins gathered in the stomach. This can be followed by a meal of yogurt in order to help dislodge the crystals and carry them out of the body. The vet will also most likely choose to begin intravenously giving additional fluids to the cat. This 'fluid therapy' will help replace any liquid lost to vomiting and excessive salivation, thereby warding off the effects of dehydration and quickly improving the cat's levels of energy.
Recovery of Green Gold Naphthysis Poisoning in Cats
In most cases, the cat will make a full recovery from green gold naphthysis poisoning within approximately a week. Owners of affected pets will be glad to know that the symptoms will not persist and pose a further danger once the oxalate crystals have been removed from the body. However, if complications such as dehydration have set in, it may be necessary to return to the vet every few days for a follow-up visit to monitor the cat's recovery. For the majority of animals, however, it will merely be necessary to feed them a somewhat bland diet to allow their digestive system to recover and provide plenty of opportunity for rest by restricting their movements for a few days.