What is Indian Borage Poisoning?
Indian borage poisoning in cats is caused by direct ingestion of any portion of the Indian borage, including the stem, leaves and roots. The Indian borage’s toxic principles are essential oils that can cause great gastrointestinal upset to the feline. Common symptoms for felines to develop after ingesting the Indian borage plant include anorexia, depression, diarrhea and vomiting. The ingestion of this plant has also been reported to cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea, which is an indication of internal hemorrhaging, irritation or ulcerations.
The Indian borage plant is a member of the Labiatae family and is known throughout the world by its scientific name, Coleus ampoinicus. The Indian borage plant has also been commonly called the East Indian thyme, militini, maratha, coleus, Spanish thyme, as well as, the bread and butter plant. The Indian borage plant grows close to the ground and can be identified by its light green colored, spade-shaped leaves that encircle the plant’s stem. The Indian borage plant is commonly grown in North America, emerging from the ground during the warmer months of the year.
Symptoms of Indian Borage Poisoning in Cats
The symptoms associated with Indian borage poisoning in cats are generally gastrointestinal upset. The severity of these symptoms depends greatly on the amount of vegetation consumed. Most felines will vomit or develop diarrhea as their bodies respond to the toxic oil component of this plant. If the Indian borage toxin remains in the stomach for a period of time or is passed through to the lower digestive system, the presence of blood may be noted in the stool or vomit of the feline. The act of vomiting and diarrhea can make the feline dehydrated, reluctant to eat, and overall depressed.
Causes of Indian Borage Poisoning in Cats
Indian borage poisoning in cats is caused by the ingestion of any portion of the Indian Borage plant. The leaves, stem, and roots of the Indian Borage plant contain an essential oil that is toxic to felines as well as other domestic animals like horses and dogs.
Diagnosis of Indian Borage Poisoning in Cats
Diagnosing Indian borage poisoning in cats is difficult as there is no specific test available for identifying this type of toxicity. Your veterinarian’s diagnosis will be based on ruling out other possible causes of your feline’s current condition that could cause similar symptoms. The diagnostic process will begin with a physical examination, review of the feline’s medical history and a consultation with the pet owner. It will be important for you to inform the veterinarian about your feline’s recent actions and possible exposure to the Indian borage plant, as this information will aid in ruling out other possible causes. The clinical signs of Indian Borage poisoning causes in cat may be similar to those of other health conditions, so the veterinarian will want to conduct a series of diagnostic tests to ensure your cat is truly suffering from Indian borage plant toxicity and not a more severe underlying condition. Diagnostic tests the veterinarian will use may include:
- CBC (complete blood cell count)
- Biochemical profile (blood work)
- Blood smear test
- Urinalysis (examination of urine)
- Fecal floatation test
- Fecal examination
- Ultrasound and/or radiograph of the abdomen
- Analysis of expelled fluids
Treatment of Indian Borage Poisoning in Cats
To eliminate the undigested toxins from the cat’s stomach, an emetic drug will be administered to encourage the feline to vomit. Activated charcoal will likely be administered by the veterinarian. Activated charcoal will bind with the toxic agent and prevent the body from further absorption of the plant chemicals. The feline’s treatment may end with intravenous fluids to restore his or her hydration, as vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration.
Recovery of Indian Borage Poisoning in Cats
The prognosis for Indian borage poisoning in cats is guarded to good and depends greatly on the amount of plant material consumed. In most cases, if the feline is not allowed to consume any more of the plant material, the feline will recover in roughly 24 hours. As with all plant toxicity cases, the earlier the feline is admitted to the veterinary hospital, the greater chance she or he has of making a full recovery. The best way to prevent an Indian Borage poisoning in cats is to remove the plant from your cat’s environment.