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What is Mint Poisoning?

Most mint plants contain essential oils which can cause negative responses if consumed in high quantities. Both catnip and catmint are types of mint that are safe to cats. Garden mint may cause gastrointestinal upset if too much is eaten. The essential oils specific to garden mint have also been known to relax the esophageal valve, making vomiting more likely in a cat who may already be ill. A few forms of mint, such as the pennyroyal, can cause very severe effects within the body including liver failure. Cats with existing liver, intestine or bowel disease are at a heightened risk of developing complications after ingesting mint. Contact with mint may cause skin irritation in hypersensitive cats.

There are numerous subspecies of mint plants. All are a part of the Lamiaceae (or Sage) family of plants. The most common type of mint is garden mint. This is the mint that is often cultivated for use as a culinary herb. Most mint plants have wrinkled leaves that grow in an ovular shape. The flowers of the mint grow in clusters on stalks and range in color from lavender to white. Many types of mint grow wild all over the United States. The plant can reach over 3 feet in height, but often grows long and low to the ground. 

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Mint Poisoning Average Cost

From 319 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$350

Symptoms of Mint Poisoning in Cats

With most forms of mint, it is rare for any illness to follow consumption. If a reaction does occur, it will likely be limited to gastrointestinal distress. A few types of mint are capable of causing real damage to the body. All signs to watch for are listed as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
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Causes of Mint Poisoning in Cats

Mint may be found in the wild growing near sources of water or in other damp locations. Many people keep mint in their herb gardens or indoors in their kitchens for both culinary and medicinal uses. Both indoor and outdoor cats may be exposed to this common herb. Generally, a very large quantity must be eaten for any kind of negative affect to manifest. Mint poisoning among cats is extremely rare.

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Diagnosis of Mint Poisoning in Cats

If your cat begins to exhibit severe symptoms, or if you become worried about its well being, take it in to see your veterinarian. If you witnessed your cat eating a plant before symptoms arose, share this information with the vet, as it will make diagnosis much easier. You may be asked to provide the cat's full medical history to identify potential health issues that could render a cat more susceptible to gastrointestinal sensitivity. You may also be asked if you allow your cat outdoors, and what plants you keep in your home.

The veterinarian will then perform a complete physical examination of the cat, checking for any abnormalities. A sample of the cat's blood will be collected so that routine tests can be performed to assess the cat's overall health condition. These tests generally include a complete blood count and a biochemical profile to measure all levels of cells and minerals in the blood. Urinalysis may also be needed to monitor how the liver is functioning.

Remember, the cat may be reacting to something that was on the mint such as weedkiller or slug bait.

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Treatment of Mint Poisoning in Cats

Most cases of illness caused by mint ingestion will not need treatment. If the cat has a pre-existing health issue, or if a severe reaction occurs, treatment may then be necessary. 

Remove Stomach Contents

 

To do this, the vet may induce vomiting using hydrogen peroxide. A gastric lavage (stomach pump) may also be used in more extreme cases. Both of these procedures will remove all plant material from the stomach before it can be fully digested.

Supportive Care

The cat should be kept as comfortable as possible during the episode of illness. If excessive vomiting or diarrhea have caused the cat to become dehydrated, intravenous fluids may need to be administered to stabilize the animal. An anti nausea injection and ant acids may be given. The cat will need to be hospitalized during this time.

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Recovery of Mint Poisoning in Cats

The vast majority of cats will make a full recovery from consuming too much mint. In cases where liver damage has occurred, this may lead to ongoing health issues in the cat. Because mint plants are so common, it may be a good idea to get familiar with the ones that grow naturally in your area, taking special note of any that are known to be toxic. It should be noted that any mint essential oils are too potent for use on cats and should never be administered for medicinal purposes. Keep any potted mint plants out of your cat's reach to ensure they are not ingested. It may also be a good idea to keep your cat indoors to protect it from all toxic plants that may be found in surrounding gardens and other areas.

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Mint Poisoning Average Cost

From 319 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$350

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Mint 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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Torte cat

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1 1/2

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Unknown severity

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15 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

I put peppermint oil on my head for headache, my cat licked my forehead a few minutes later. Will she be ok? She seems fine.

Sept. 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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15 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. That small exposure to peppermint oil should not cause any toxicities, I wouldn't think. If she is vomiting, having diarrhea, or having breathing problems, then It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 20, 2020

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Brooklyn

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Siberian

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9 Months

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Fair severity

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2 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

Good evening, how can I prevent my cat from going to my garden mint plant. Aside from the garden mint, I would also like to ask how I can prevent my cat from nibbling on my money tree. I've been reading a few articles and how they say those two plant are poisonious. I'm worried she might eat them and get an upset stomach. Thank you.

July 24, 2018

Brooklyn's Owner

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2 Recommendations

Generally i recommend that cat owners only have cat friendly plants in their homes and gardens as poisoning events are far too frequent; you should ideally not have the plants in areas where Brooklyn frequents or ensure that the plants are not accessible. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 24, 2018

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Mint Poisoning Average Cost

From 319 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$350

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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