What is Silver Jade Plant Poisoning?

It’s unclear which toxin causes symptoms of silver jade poisoning. If cats consume this plant, they may immediately begin to vomit or dry heave in an attempt to get rid of the plant material. Other symptoms can include lethargy, decreased heart rate, and loss of appetite. Cats may also have skin irritation if they come into contact with the plant.

Although silver jade plant poisoning is not fatal, your cat will still need to be treated by a veterinarian. If you spot the symptoms of this condition, don’t hesitate to get your cat medical attention as soon as possible.

The silver jade plant, also known as the Chinese jade or silver dollar, is native to South Africa, but often used as a decorative plant in homes and gardens around the world. But, the silver jade plant is toxic to animals, so cat owners should never keep it in or around the home.

Symptoms of Silver Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats

If your cat has consumed any part of the silver jade plant, he may begin to exhibit signs of poisoning right away. Some of the symptoms you should look out for include:

  • Vomiting
  • Dry heaving
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Allergic dermatitis (irritation of the skin)
  • Loss of appetite/weight loss

Causes of Silver Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats

Silver jade poisoning can occur after your cat is exposed to the silver jade plant. Cats can develop gastrointestinal issues after consuming the plant and skin irritation issues after coming into contact with it. Every part of the silver jade plant is poisonous to cats, however the toxin that causes the symptoms is unknown. 

Diagnosis of Silver Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats

If you see your cat eating or chewing on a silver jade plant, or if you begin to notice the symptoms of poisoning, take him to a vet as soon as possible. If you can, take a picture or sample of the plant so the vet can diagnose the condition quickly. If you did not see your cat come into contact with the plant, it may be helpful to bring a sample of his vomit so the vet can look for any regurgitated plant matter.

Because there is no test that diagnoses silver jade plant poisoning, the vet will rely heavily on your description of the cat’s symptoms. Be as detailed as possible about what symptoms you have observed, when they began, and whether your cat has come into contact with anything unusual.  

In some cases, the vet may choose to use an endoscope to examine the cat’s stomach cavity. This will help the vet look for signs of plant matter or any other foreign objects that could be causing the symptoms.

Treatment of Silver Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats

Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment will begin immediately. The vet will need to remove any of the silver jade plant that remains in your cat’s stomach. To get rid of the plant matter, the vet will induce vomiting. After the vomiting has subsided, the vet can also administer activated charcoal, which will absorb any of the remaining toxins in your cat’s stomach cavity before they enter into the bloodstream. The vet may administer either Kaopectin or sucralfate after the treatment is complete. These medications form a thick paste and coat the lining of the stomach to prevent further irritation. 

If your cat is suffering from contact dermatitis as a result of the silver jade plant poisoning, the vet will give your cat a thorough bath to remove any irritants that remain on the skin. A topical corticosteroid can also be applied to reduce itching and swelling.

Your cat may be dehydrated because of the induced vomiting. If this is the case, the vet will need to use an IV line to provide fluids that will help him rehydrate. 

Recovery of Silver Jade Plant Poisoning in Cats

Silver jade plant poisoning is not fatal and typically will not lead to any major complications. In extreme cases, the vet may ask to keep your cat connected to an IV until his condition has stabilized. 

If your cat is cleared to return home with you, make sure you talk to the vet about modifications to the cat’s diet. The vet may recommend you switch to softer foods for the next few days as your cat recovers. 

The most important part of recovery is making sure your cat does not come into contact with the silver jade plant again. Be sure to remove this plant from your home and lawn. If you believe your cat has come into contact with it in a neighbor’s yard, keep your cat indoors as much as possible to limit exposure.