What is Moss Rose Poisoning?
The moss rose contains soluble calcium oxalates, which are toxic to many animals including cats. These substances can cause severe symptoms and may lead to kidney failure if the plant is ingested in large quantities. If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of the moss rose in any quantity, take it to the vet immediately to ensure the best prognosis.
The moss rose is a type of annual flower that is often used as a garden plant and grows natively in certain parts of Alabama. The flowers of the moss rose can come in several different colors, including pink, red, orange, yellow, and white. The moss rose won’t usually grow larger than six inches tall. This plant is part of the Portulacaceae family.
Symptoms of Moss Rose Poisoning in Cats
Symptoms of plant poisoning typically manifest within two hours following ingestion and may indicate signs of kidney failure. Symptoms of moss rose poisoning can be severe, so you should seek immediate veterinary attention as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Excess drinking
- Lethargy and weakness
The moss rose flower may be known by several different names, including:
- Wild portulaca
- Rock moss
Causes of Moss Rose Poisoning in Cats
Moss rose poisoning in cats is caused by ingestion. The leaves contain the highest concentration of soluble calcium oxalates, the toxin responsible for causing symptoms. Cats will not usually ingest large amounts of poisonous plants since symptoms usually manifest quickly. However, since ingestion of the moss rose can lead to life-threatening symptoms of kidney failure, you should always exercise caution if you believe your cat has ingested any part of the moss rose in any quantity. Seek immediate veterinary attention even if your cat’s symptoms are mild.
Diagnosis of Moss Rose Poisoning in Cats
If your cat is exhibiting any symptoms associated with kidney failure, you should call your vet before you arrive to let them know they will need to treat an emergency case of moss rose poisoning. If the moss rose your cat ingested is your house or garden plant, take a sample of it with you when you go. An estimate of how much of the plant your cat ingested may also be helpful, but is not necessary. Tell your vet how long your cat has been experiencing symptoms.
Your vet will be able to make the diagnosis based on presentation of symptoms as well as standard diagnostic tests, including blood work and urinalysis. Evidence of kidney failure will usually also appear in the blood and urine tests, although your vet may choose to perform a kidney tissue biopsy, x-rays, and/or ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of Moss Rose Poisoning in Cats
Treatment will vary depending on the amount of the plant your cat ingested and whether or not acute kidney failure has occurred. Mild cases of moss rose poisoning are often treated using standard procedures. These include inducing vomiting, starting intravenous fluid therapy, administering activated charcoal to absorb toxins in the stomach, and administering drugs that stop persistent vomiting. Other treatments may be recommended for mild cases based on symptoms present.
Treating acute kidney failure will involve treating the underlying cause – in this case, the moss rose poisoning. Acute cases of kidney failure are usually treated with intravenous fluid therapy. Your vet will then evaluate your cat’s condition after intravenous fluid therapy has started to determine if any additional treatments or hospitalization are required.
Recovery of Moss Rose Poisoning in Cats
Recovery and prognosis will vary depending on how quickly the poisoning was diagnosed and treated following ingestion, and whether kidney failure has occurred. Mild cases of plant poisoning treated quickly and successfully usually resolve within twenty-four hours.
It is unlikely that your cat will encounter the moss rose during outdoor activity, since it is native to one state. The one exception to this is if a neighbor is growing it in their garden. If your cat did come into contact with this plant through outdoor activity, it may be a good idea to reduce your cat’s outdoor activity or monitor your cat when they are outdoors to ensure they do not consume any other poisonous plants. If you purchased or grew the moss rose as a house or garden plant, you should remove it immediately. Research plants before making any purchases to ensure they do not contain substances that are toxic to your cat.
For mild cases of moss rose poisoning, your vet will not usually schedule any follow-up appointments. If your cat has experienced kidney failure, your vet may schedule follow-up appointments as needed to monitor your cat’s condition and evaluate whether any additional damage has occurred.