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What is Lily Poisoning?

Lilies may seem like beautiful, fragrant and harmless plants to humans, but when it comes to your family pets they can be extremely poisonous and potentially fatal. Lily poisoning occurs when your cat consumes any part of the lily plant, including flowers, stems, pollen, leaves or the bulb if the plant is left out of ground and exposed. Kittens are particularly prone to lily poisoning given their curious nature and willingness to chew on plants as part of exploring their environments. If you believe your cat is suffering from lily poisoning, or has ingested a lily or lily plant, you should seek immediate veterinary care.

Lily Poisoning Average Cost

From 587 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,000

Symptoms of Lily Poisoning in Cats

Symptoms of lily poisoning will typically develop quickly, within six to twelve hours after your cat has been exposed. Signs to watch for mat include:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Kidney failure
  • Disorientation
  • Inability to walk
  • Seizures
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Causes of Lily Poisoning in Cats

The exact toxin within lilies that causes poisoning in your cat is unknown. Poisoning occurs when your cat ingests the plant, either through curiosity or the desire to chew or eat the plant. Indoor and outdoor cats are both susceptible as lilies are common household flowers and are particularly popular decorations come spring. Varieties such as peace lilies, Peruvian lilies or calla lilies are of a different species than true lilies. While these plants are still harmful to your cat, they do not generally create life-threatening symptoms. Lilies of the genus Lilium or Hemerocallis are considered true lilies and are potentially fatal if your cat does not obtain immediate veterinary care after exposure. Types of true lilies include:

  • Tiger lilies
  • Day lilies
  • Asiatic hybrid lilies
  • Japanese show lilies
  • Easter lilies
  • Rubrum lilies
  • Stargazer lilies
  • Red lilies
  • Western lilies
  • Wood lilies
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Diagnosis of Lily Poisoning in Cats

Diagnosis of lily poisoning in your cat will begin with a thorough physical exam in your veterinarian’s office. Since it will be difficult for your vet to ascertain the exact type of poisoning from your cat’s symptoms at this time alone, you should be prepared to describe in detail the approximate onset of symptoms as well as any worsening or improvement of the condition. If you witnessed your cat ingesting or coming into contact with a specific plant, you should carefully bring a small portion of that plant with you to the vet visit so that your vet can more accurately and quickly make a diagnosis. 

Suspected poisoning of any kind in your cat is a serious medical condition and your vet may need to diagnose your cat to begin treatment prior to having complete confirmation of the condition. Your vet may still obtain a blood and urine sample during your vet visit. These will be sent to the laboratory for analysis to test for kidney function and the presence of any infections or secondary conditions. 

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Treatment of Lily Poisoning in Cats

Treatment of lily poisoning in your cat will begin by your vet team stabilizing your pet if they are suffering from any life threatening symptoms. Your cat will be administered medications via IV to help reduce seizures and medications and fluids to help promote kidney function. Your cat may be very sick after lily poisoning and will need to be admitted for overnight stay and observation at a minimum.

After your cat is no longer in critical condition, your vet’s staff will work quickly to help eliminate any remaining toxic substances that remain in their stomach. To do this, your vet will induce vomiting in your cat. A thin plastic tube will be placed into your cat’s mouth and down their throat directly into their stomach. This will be uncomfortable but is important to administer life saving treatment. A solution of water with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide may be given, which will induce vomiting in your cat. This procedure should never be performed at home without veterinarian instruction as vomiting may cause a variety of life threatening side effects.

Next, your vet may administer activated charcoal to your cat via the same tube method. Activated charcoal will absorb many toxic substances allowing them to pass harmlessly through your cat’s digestive system. Additional fluids will then be administered and your cat will be closely monitored to ensure healthy vital signs and proper organ function.

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Recovery of Lily Poisoning in Cats

In cases of lily poisoning that are caught early, your cat has a good prognosis of recovery. Some animals may have long or short-term organ damage as a result of poisoning. These conditions may be managed with the use of special medications and regular blood tests at your vet’s office. Unfortunately, lilies are incredibly toxic and some severe cases may result in death. Lily poisoning is a serious condition and your cat’s long-term recovery will depend on how quickly they receive veterinary care. 

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Lily Poisoning Average Cost

From 587 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,000

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Lily Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Domestic Shorthair

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5-6 months

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

Cat may have ingested some of a dried piece/part of a lily 4 hours ago. He is not showing any symptoms. No vomiting, drooling, or lethargy. Can he wait until the vet in the morning?

Sept. 3, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Kate D. MA VetMB MRCVS

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0 Recommendations

Hello, Thanks for contacting us about your kitten. I'm sorry to hear he might have eaten part of a lily. Lilies are very toxic to cats, and can cause kidney failure. Unfortunately, the symptoms of lily poisoning take quite a while to show up, and some cats don't show any symptoms for 12 hours after eating the lily. But if he has taken in some of the lily plant, the toxins will be affecting his kidneys during that time. There is no antidote to lily poisoning, but the best treatment is supportive care in the veterinary clinic, usually as an inpatient. It is best if this starts as soon as possible, and definitely within 6 hours of eating the lily. It sounds like you are unsure whether he might have eaten the lily or not -- but given the seriousness of the potential poisoning, I would advise you not to wait and see if he develops symptoms, but take him to the veterinary clinic straight away for treatment. If you can take a piece of the plant you think he ate with you, that will also help the veterinary staff with their assessment and plan. I hope all goes well; please let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

Sept. 3, 2020

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Tabby cat

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

She bit a small piece of a peace lily but isn’t showing symptoms should I be more concerned?

July 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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Hello, So sorry to hear about your cat. Lillys are toxic to their kidneys. It would be best for your vet to run bloodwork to check your cat's kidney values to make sure that he did not eat to much. You may also notice vomiting and diarrhea. If you see anything off with your cat it would be best to take her to the vet right away. I hope all goes well with your cat.

July 29, 2020

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TabbyCat

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Possible Poisoning

My cats sniffed a lily that was outside. I wiped both down immediately after. It happed about 17 hours ago no symptoms.

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, Lilly toxicity is only if your cat ate the lily. I would think that your cat would be perfectly fine, especially since you have not noticed any issues in 17+ hours.

July 26, 2020

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Olive

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Calico

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6 Months

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Fair severity

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3 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

My 6 month old female cat ate one petal of a lily that fell from the shelf. I only noticed because she threw up what looks like the whole petal. She has not thrown up again. She is eating, and I added a little (less than a capsul) activated charcoal to some wet food and she ate the whole thing. She’s still drinking, I have not noticed any change in bathroom behavior. No drooling. She’s full of energy. Do I still need to run to the vet?

Feb. 9, 2018

Olive's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

The most concerning issues with consuming parts of a lily plant is the possible kidney failure that may occur; inducing vomiting and administration of activated charcoal are key to getting a favourable prognosis. You should visit your Veterinarian for supportive and symptomatic care as well as to check kidney function etc… Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/lilies/

Feb. 9, 2018

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sasha

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persian calico

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3 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Zero

sasha was found nibbling this morning on an Easter lily plant i imediately took her to our vets they have tried to induce vomitting not sucessful so they gave her IV and activated charcoal and monitor for 24 hrs 04/15/2020

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Wolfie

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Calico

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3 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Not Yet

My cat recently had some lily leaves that he digested but he is only a 3 month old cat and it was only a little nibble and will it affect him and we still have no idea what affects will he have. Does anyone know if he will have critical conditions and how to solve it.

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Lillyah

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Calico

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5 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Vomit

My five year old calico started vomiting something that looked like spit. She’s in the bathroom and has vomited four times. We have a tiger lily and I saw her nibbling on it this morning. She seems very depressed and tired but it’s sunday night and my parents don’t want to pay for the vet bill.

Lily Poisoning Average Cost

From 587 quotes ranging from $500 - $8,000

Average Cost

$3,000

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