What is Jade Plant Poisoning?
The exact toxic principles of the plant are currently unknown. However, jade plant poisoning is fatal for cats if left untreated. If you suspect your cat has ingested the jade plant in any quantity, you should take it to the vet immediately to ensure the best prognosis.
The jade plant is known by many names, including baby jade, jade tree, and Chinese rubber plant. This common house and garden plant can grow to be higher than six feet tall and survive for several years. Recognize the jade plant by its knobby branches and clusters of oval-shaped leaves. The leaves of some jade plants may have vibrant red tips and feel waxy or smooth to the touch.
Symptoms of Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats
Symptoms of jade plant poisoning may manifest quickly. Do not attempt to treat jade plant poisoning at home, as owners have no way of knowing the full extent of poisoning and may worsen the condition. You should consult your vet immediately as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of muscle function
- Slow heart rate
Symptoms may also include signs of depression, such as:
- Lack of grooming
- Increased aggression
- Lethargy and weakness
- Excessive sleeping and/or hiding
Causes of Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats
The cause of jade plant poisoning in cats is ingesting the plant. All parts of the plant are toxic. The amount of the plant your cat needs to ingest in order to become poisoned is currently unknown. The toxic principles of the plant are also unknown, though current literature suggests that the highest concentrations of toxins are found in the leaves. Cats are unlikely to ingest large quantities of poisonous plants, though it is possible that your cat can become poisoned by merely chewing on the leaves. If you have any suspicion that your cat has ingested or chewed the leaves of the jade plant, take it to the vet immediately.
Diagnosis of Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats
Call your vet ahead of time to let them know you have an emergency case of jade plant poisoning. If the jade plant is a decorative house plant, take a sample of it with you when you go. If you know approximately how much of the plant your cat ingested, provide this information to your vet. You should always tell your vet how long your cat has been experiencing symptoms.
Your vet can confirm jade plant poisoning using standard diagnostic testing. Vets most commonly use blood and urine analysis to confirm poisoning, but may also conduct additional testing based on your cat’s symptoms.
Treatment of Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats
Treatment may vary depending on how much of the jade plant your cat ingested as well as how quickly the poisoning was diagnosed and treated.
There is little information on treating jade poisoning in cats, and no antidote has been identified. However, standard procedure for plant poisoning in cats will be utilized based on your cat’s symptoms. Your vet may induce vomiting to clear the toxins from the gastrointestinal tract. If persistent vomiting is present, your vet may administer medications to reduce vomiting. Activated charcoal, which absorbs toxins in the stomach, may also be administered. Cats suffering from dehydration due to vomiting or fluid imbalances may need to undergo intravenous fluid therapy. Severe cases of poisoning may require more aggressive treatment or hospitalization.
Recovery of Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats
Recovery and prognosis of jade plant poisoning will vary on a case-by-case basis. Many animals recover from plant poisoning within twenty-four hours as long as it is diagnosed and treated quickly. However, this may not be the case for jade plant poisoning, especially in severe cases. Your vet can advise you on a recovery plan based on your cat’s condition.
If your cat ingested the jade plant outdoors, you may want to limit or monitor its outdoor activity to avoid future cases of poisoning. You should always research plants before making any purchases to make sure they do not contain any substances that are toxic for your cat.
If you purchased or grew the jade plant as a house plant, remove it from the home immediately, rather than attempt to keep it out of your cat’s reach. Cats are renowned for their curious and wily natures. Never assume that your cat cannot reach a plant. Err on the side of extreme caution and do not keep any plants in your home that are toxic to cats.
Your vet usually won’t schedule follow-up appointments for mild cases of jade plant poisoning that is treated promptly. If severe poisoning or organ damage has occurred, your vet may schedule follow-up appointments on an as-needed basis to monitor healing and organ function.