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If the naked lady plant is ingested in large quantities, severe and possibly life-threatening symptoms can result. No matter how much of the naked lady plant your cat ingested, you should take it to the vet as soon as possible to ensure the best prognosis.
The naked lady plant is a member of the Amaryllidaceae family. Many plants within this family, including tulips and lilies, are poisonous to cats. Recognize the naked lady plant by its bulb-shaped, pink flowers. The primary toxin in the naked lady plant is lycorine, although other alkaloids present in the plants also cause poisoning.
Symptoms of naked lady plant poisoning can range from mild to severe and typically appear quickly after ingestion, often within two hours. Asterisks indicate severe symptoms associated with ingestion of large quantities. If you notice any of the following symptoms, take your cat to the vet immediately:
The naked lady plant is known by many names, including:
Lycorine is the plant’s principal toxin, and can cause a wide range of symptoms from gastrointestinal upset to serious central nervous system complications. The highest concentration of toxins is found in the plant’s flowers. The severity of poisoning correlates directly with the amount consumed. Cats do not normally consume large quantities of poisonous flowers because symptoms are often rapid onset. However, if your cat has ingested the bulbs of the naked lady plant in any quantity, you should enlist the services of a veterinary professional immediately. Owners cannot know the extent of poisoning even if symptoms appear to be mild, and naked lady poisoning can cause serious damage to the central nervous system.
If your cat is exhibiting any of the severe symptoms listed, you should call your vet before you arrive to inform them they will need to treat an emergency case of naked lady plant poisoning. Take a sample of the naked lady plant your cat ingested with you when you go if possible. Knowing approximately how much of the plant your cat ingested may be helpful for making the diagnosis and treatment plan. Always let your vet know how long your cat has been exhibiting symptoms.
Confirming the poisoning can be done by evaluation of symptoms and standard diagnostic tests. Blood and urine analysis are typically used to confirm plant poisoning in cats. Other tests may be recommended by your vet based on your cat’s symptoms.
Treating mild cases of naked lady poisoning will involve standard treatment for plant poisoning. Inducing vomiting and administering activated charcoal are often effective in clearing undigested toxins from your cat’s stomach. Intravenous fluid therapy may be started if fluid imbalances are present. Medications to control persistent vomiting may also be recommended.
There is no antidote available for naked lady poisoning. For severe cases of poisoning, your vet will not induce vomiting as this may exacerbate symptoms. Your vet may recommend lavage, a process that involves flushing your cat’s stomach with water or a saline solution. If organ damage has occurred, your cat may be hospitalized so that the vet can monitor organ function.
Recovery and prognosis will vary based on the amount ingested and the severity of symptoms. For mild cases of naked lady poisoning treated quickly and successfully, prognosis is usually excellent. Cats usually recover from mild plant poisoning within twenty-four hours. Prognosis for severe cases is often guarded.
If your cat encountered this plant during outside activity, you may want to limit or monitor your cat’s outdoor activity to prevent future cases of poisoning. If the naked lady plant your cat ingested is your own home or garden plant, remove it immediately and make sure no bulbs remain outside or in your home in order to prevent future cases of poisoning. Always research home or garden plants before making any purchases to make sure they do not contain toxins.
Mild cases of poisoning that are treated successfully will not usually require follow-up appointments. For severe cases of poisoning, your vet will schedule follow-up appointments as needed to monitor organ function.
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