What is Mum Plant Poisoning?
The mum plant does not usually cause severe poisoning in cats. However, if your cat ingests the mum plant, gastrointestinal discomfort may result. Take your cat to the vet as soon as you can to relieve its discomfort.
The mum plant, short for chrysanthemum, is a common garden plant that is very toxic to cats. There are several different species of chrysanthemum, all of which are toxic to cats. Recognize the mum plant by its shrub-like appearance featuring hundreds of purple or yellow flowers. The mum plant contains several substances that are toxic to cats, including lactones, pyrethrins, and sesquiterpene.
Symptoms of Mum Plant Poisoning in Cats
Symptoms of mum poisoning will usually appear within two hours of ingestion and are generally mild. If you notice any of the following symptoms, take your cat to the vet to reduce any gastrointestinal discomfort and/or skin irritation:
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Loss of appetite
- Red, swollen, or inflamed skin
- Bumps or lesions
The mum plant belongs to the Compositae family and goes by many different names, including, but not limited to:
Causes of Mum Plant Poisoning in Cats
The cause of mum poisoning in cats is ingestion. Toxins in the mum plant include lactones, pyrethrins, and sesquiterpene. Lactones are a substance that contains allergenic properties and cause oral and skin irritation. Pyrethrins are commonly used in insecticides and flea and tick medications for cats and dogs. The exact effects of sesquiterpene in cats are unclear. The flowers of the mum plant may contain the highest concentrations of toxins. Your cat will not usually consume large quantities of poisonous plants because gastrointestinal symptoms appear rapidly following ingestion. Err on the side of caution and take your cat to the vet if they have ingested any part of the mum.
Diagnosis of Mum Plant Poisoning in Cats
In any case of plant poisoning, you should seek veterinary attention even if symptoms are mild. If the mum plant is your own house or garden plant, take a sample of it with you when you go. If you have an estimate of how much of the plant your cat ingested, this information may be helpful for making the diagnosis, but not necessary. You should always tell your vet how long your cat has been experiencing symptoms.
Presentation of symptoms and standard diagnostic methods, including blood work and urinalysis, can confirm poisoning. Other tests may be recommended by your vet based on symptoms present.
Treatment of Mum Plant Poisoning in Cats
Treatment for mild cases of mum poisoning in cats is typically straightforward and will involve standard methods used to treat plant poisoning in domestic animals. Your vet may induce vomiting to help clear undigested toxins from your cat’s stomach. Activated charcoal may be administered to absorb remaining toxins in the stomach. Intravenous fluid therapy is usually recommended in most cases of plant poisoning to correct fluid imbalances. For cats experiencing persistent vomiting, medications may be administered to keep the vomiting under control.
There is no antidote currently available for mum poisoning. However, since poisoning is usually mild, the treatment methods outlined above are usually sufficient in treating mum poisoning. In the rare event of severe poisoning, your vet will recommend additional treatment based on your cat’s symptoms.
Recovery of Mum Plant Poisoning in Cats
Recovery and prognosis for mild cases of mum poisoning in cats is usually good or excellent with prompt and effective treatment. Cats with mild bouts of plant poisoning typically make a full recovery within twenty-four hours following ingestion. Prognosis for severe mum poisoning is not outlined in current veterinary literature due to the rarity of its occurrence.
Mum plants are very common in outdoor gardens. Although the mum plant is native to Europe and Asia, your cat may have encountered this plant during outside activity. If this is the case, it may be a good idea to limit or monitor your cat’s outdoor activity to prevent future cases of poisoning. If the mum plant your cat ingested is one you own, you should get rid of it immediately. Be sure to research plants or flowers before making any purchases to ensure they do not contain substances that are toxic to your cat.
Mild cases of poisoning do not typically warrant follow-up appointments. Your vet will schedule follow-up appointments on an as-needed basis for severe cases of poisoning based on your cat’s symptoms.
Mum Plant Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
On Wednesday, May 16 I purchased some chrysanthemums and put them on an altar I have on my floor. That night my cat started acting very strange by crying a lot pacing and then he would suddenly drool and freak out and run around. All that night he cried as if you were in pain. In the morning he seemed to have some gas and was better but I took him to the vet. They tested him and everything was OK. On Friday I went to the pet store and bought some fresh catnip. On Friday night my cat had a seizure and again on Saturday morning. So I took him to the vet and they started him on phenobarbital. He also started having diarrhea and his ears were red as if he had allergy. ( A year ago I had to stop him from eating spider plants because I figured out they are causing an allergy). My vet says he will probably have to stay on phenobarbital for the rest of his life and the diarrhea and red ears had nothing to do with the seizures. I strongly disagree and think that the chrysanthemums, catnip and other plants that he frequently nibbles on caused some kind of toxic reaction. I have just figured all of this out and removed all of the plants from my house tonight.
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