What is Mother of Millions Plant Poisoning?
Poisoning can cause severe symptoms. If you suspect that your cat has ingested any part of the mother of millions plant in any quantity, take your cat to the vet immediately to prevent sudden death.
The mother of millions plant is common house plant that is toxic to cats. Recognize the mother of millions by its hundred of flowers, which can be red, pink, or yellow. The mother of millions contains bufadienolides, which are considered cardiac glycoside toxins. This toxin directly affects the levels of electrolytes in the heart muscle.
Symptoms of Mother of Millions Plant Poisoning in Cats
Since the mother of millions directly affects the heart, symptoms can be severe within two hours following ingestion. Asterisks denote severe symptoms. To prevent significant damage to the cardiac system, seek immediate veterinary attention as soon as you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Lethargy and weakness
- Rapid heart rate*
- Heart murmurs*
- Dilated pupils*
- Sudden death*
The mother of millions plant goes by many different names, including:
- Devil’s backbone
- Chandelier plant
- Kalanchoe tubiflora
Causes of Mother of Millions Plant Poisoning in Cats
The cause of mother of millions poisoning in cats is ingestion. All parts of the mother of millions plants are highly toxic. Your cat only needs to drink the water from the vase of the plant in order to become poisoned. While it is unlikely that cats will ingest large quantities of any poisonous plant since symptoms are typically onset, you should exercise caution and seek veterinary attention immediately if you think your cat has ingested a poisonous plant in any quantity.
Diagnosis of Mother of Millions Plant Poisoning in Cats
If your cat is exhibiting severe cardiac symptoms, you should call your vet before you arrive to let them know they will be treating an emergency case of mother of millions poisoning. If your cat ingested the mother of millions because it is a house plant, take a sample of it with you when you go to the vet. Having an estimate of how much of the plant your cat ingested is helpful for making the diagnosis, but not necessary. Always let your vet know how long your cat has been experiencing symptoms.
Your vet will confirm poisoning using standard diagnostic methods, including blood work and urinalysis. Your vet may also take an ECG to monitor heart function if severe cardiac damage is suspected.
Treatment of Mother of Millions Plant Poisoning in Cats
Treatment will vary based on the severity of poisoning and symptoms present. Mild cases of poisoning can be treated using standard treatment methods for plant poisoning. Your vet will usually induce vomiting in addition to administering activated charcoal to help clear undigested bufadienolides from your cat’s stomach. Intravenous fluid therapy may be started to correct electrolyte imbalances. If your cat is suffering from persistent vomiting, your vet may administer medications to control the vomiting.
There is an antidote available for mother of millions poisoning in cats. This is generally used in severe, life-threatening cases in which seizures are present. However, the antidote is expensive and may be recommended based on the owner’s personal and financial preferences. Additional treatment methods may be recommended based on the extent of damage to the heart muscle and symptoms present.
Recovery of Mother of Millions Plant Poisoning in Cats
For mild cases of mother of millions poisoning, recovery and prognosis may be good to excellent as long as the poisoning is diagnosed and treated quickly. Cats that experience mild cases of plant poisoning such as these often make a full recovery within twenty-four hours. Prognosis for severe cases is often guarded, since the toxin directly affects the heart.
If your cat ingested the mother of millions plant while outdoors, you may want to limit or monitor your cat’s outdoor activity to prevent future cases of poisoning. If the mother of millions plant is your home or garden plant, remove it immediately. Never assume that your cat cannot reach a toxic plant because you place it in a hard-to-reach area. Always research plants or flowers before making any purchases to make sure they are not toxic to your cat.
For mild cases of poisoning in which no severe symptoms are present, your vet may not schedule follow-up appointments. If damage to the heart muscle has occurred as a result of mother of millions poisoning, your vet will schedule follow-up appointments as needed to monitor your cat’s heart function. During these appointments, your vet may take ECGs and other heart tests to ensure healing.