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What is Silver Dollar Poisoning?

Though the toxins in the silver dollar are unknown, all parts of the plant are dangerous to cats, including the stem, leaves, petals, roots, and seeds. Although easily grown both indoors and out, the silver dollar plant is a popular houseplant, which creates a high risk for feline toxic fatality. 

A member of the Crassulaceae family, the silver dollar plant is known throughout the world by its scientific name, Crassula arborescens. To the rest of the world, the silver dollar plant is known by its common names, including the Chinese jade and the silver jade plant. The silver dollar plant is native to South Africa but can be found all over the world due to its hardy nature. The Silver Dollar plant can be identified by its fleshy blue-grey or dark green rounded leaves and thick, strong stems. This unique plant grows close to the ground and resembles a small tree in appearance, but in the winter time, a cluster of pink or white star-shaped flowers will appear near the leaves. 

Symptoms of Silver Dollar Poisoning in Cats

Silver dollar poisoning in Cats causes two primary symptoms including vomiting and depression. Ingesting any portion of the silver dollar plant can cause the feline to vomit within 15 to 20 minutes and signs of depression are soon to follow. A depressed cat often seeks isolation for periods of time, sleeps more than normal, and develops a noticeable change in personality, commonly seen in the form of aggression. Additionally, the feline may become lethargic, his heart rate may slow down, and he may show signs of impaired muscle movements. 

Causes of Silver Dollar Poisoning in Cats

Silver dollar poisoning in cats is caused by the ingestions any part of the plant. The toxic components of the silver dollar have not been identified, but are considered toxic to both felines and canines. 

Diagnosis of Silver Dollar Poisoning in Cats

The primary symptoms of silver dollar poisoning, vomiting, and depression, may be mistaken for other forms of feline illness. The condition is difficult to pinpoint unless the ingestion of this plant was witnessed, so paying close attention to the clinical signs is crucial. 

At the veterinary clinic, the diagnostic process will begin with a physical examination, a review of the cat’s medical history and a discussion about your feline’s recent activities and possible exposure to dangerous plants or other toxins. The veterinarian may conduct a series of diagnostic tests to ensure your cat is truly suffering from silver dollar plant toxicity and not a more severe underlying condition. Tests may include:

  • Complete blood cell count 
  • Biochemical profile 
  • Blood smear test 
  • Urinalysis 
  • Fecal floatation test
  • Fecal examination 

Treatment of Silver Dollar Poisoning in Cats

Treatment will likely begin with an emetic drug to encourage the feline to vomit. Activated charcoal, will likely be administered to will bind with toxic agents and prevent the body from further absorption of the plant chemicals. The feline’s treatment may include intravenous fluid therapy to correct dehydration that may result from excessive vomiting.

Recovery of Silver Dollar Poisoning in Cats

The prognosis for Silver Dollar poisoning in cats is guarded and depends greatly on the amount of plant material consumed. As with all plant toxicity cases, the earlier the feline is admitted to the veterinary hospital and receives treatment, the better chance he or she has of a full recovery.