What is Showy Daisy Poisoning?
The reason that showy daisy is sometimes called fleabane stems from the fact that the plant is a natural bug repellent. It also produces illness when ingested by cats. It is unknown which toxins in the plant are to blame for the upset that follows eating any of its parts, however it likely relates to the same reason that the plant contains pesticides and fungicides. It has even been used to eradicate certain fungi from strawberry crops. People often grow showy daisy on the edges of their gardens to keep insects out. The consumption of the plant only poses a mild threat to cats, unless the cat has an existing health issue that makes it more susceptible to gastrointestinal problems.
The Erigeron speciosus of the Asteraceae family commonly known as "showy daisy", “fleabane” or “seaside daisy”, is a perennial flowering plant that can be found in North America. It grows straight up with a wooded stem that is covered in long, narrow leaves. At the top of the stem is a brightly colored flower, sometimes reaching 2 inches in diameter. These blossoms come in pinks, purples, and whites and can be seen for months on end. The plant is hardy and doesn't mind dry conditions.
Symptoms of Showy Daisy Poisoning in Cats
While some cats may not experience negative effects from eating Showy Daisy, the most common symptom that arises after ingestion is digestive upset. Signs to watch for are listed below.
Causes of Showy Daisy Poisoning in Cats
Cats who are allowed outdoors may come into contact with showy daisy growing wild in rural areas or planted in people's gardens. A large amount of plant material would have to be consumed for a toxic result to develop.
Diagnosis of Showy Daisy Poisoning in Cats
If you are concerned about the symptoms of illness that your cat is exhibiting, take it into a veterinary clinic to be professionally assessed. You may be asked to provide the cat's full medical history to help identify possible causes of gastrointestinal upset. If you witnessed the cat eating plant material, be sure to share this information with the veterinarian. You may be asked if you allow your cat outdoors or not.
The veterinarian will then perform a complete physical examination of the cat. During this examination, the vet will look for any other abnormalities that could be linked to the illness at hand. In the case of a poisoning, no other related issues will be found. A sample of the cat's blood will be collected for tests to be run, including a complete blood count and a biochemical profile. These tests help reveal what the cat's overall health condition is. Urinalysis may be performed to determine if the body is pouring out any unusual substances with the urine.
Treatment of Showy Daisy Poisoning in Cats
As showy daisy poisoning is generally very mild, treatment is usually based on relieving symptoms and assisting the cat as the toxins pass through the body.
Wash Oral Cavity
If there is visible plant material in the cat's mouth, a thorough rinse can help remove it to prevent the cat from ingesting any more of the toxins.
Remove Stomach Contents
By making the cat vomit with hydrogen peroxide or by pumping its stomach via gastric lavage, all toxic plant material that has not yet been digested can be removed. This will prevent the cat's condition from getting worse.
Hydrate the Cat
A long duration of gastrointestinal illness can leave a cat dehydrated, which is a serious condition. The cat should be given ample access to water throughout the episode, and in some cases may need intravenous fluid administration. Hospitalization is required for this process.
Recovery of Showy Daisy Poisoning in Cats
All signs of illness should clear up within 24 hours. An additional trip to the veterinarian may be necessary if the illness does not pass in this timeframe. If you have been told to treat the cat at home, monitor the animal closely throughout the episode. Most cats will make a full recovery with no lasting negative impact. The only way to prevent your cat from coming into contact with showy daisy and other poisonous plants is by keeping it indoors where you have control over every plant. Becoming familiar with plants that are toxic to your cat may be a good idea to help prevent any poisoning from occurring.