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What is True Aloe Poisoning?

The true aloe plant belongs in the Aloaceae family and has the scientific name of Aloe barbadensis. Other names for true aloe include Barbados aloe, medicine plant, aloe, octopus plant, candelabra plant and torch plant. 

Aloe is used by humans for medicinal purposes, but if true aloe is ingested by small animals, including cats, it has toxic effects. The toxins in true aloe include anthracene, glycosides, and anthraquinones. True aloe may encourage bowel movements and vomiting. Poisoning symptoms are generally mild, unless your cat has eaten a large amount of the plant.

Symptoms of True Aloe Poisoning in Cats

Symptoms of true aloe poisoning include:

  • Change in urine color (urine becomes red)
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • In rare cases, tremors

Causes of True Aloe Poisoning in Cats

Because true aloe contains glycosides, anthracene, and anthraquinones, classified as saponins, your cat should avoid it. The poisonous part of true aloe is the white latex, not the gelatin held within the leaves.

The saponins in true aloe work to increase the amounts of mucus and water in your cat’s colon. This leads to him developing abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting.

If you’re going to use aloe on your pets, purchase an aloe product that has the latex removed. It’s the latex in the aloe that is the toxin and irritant, both to your cat and to yourself.

Diagnosis of True Aloe Poisoning in Cats

Once you realize your cat is sick from true aloe poisoning, it’s extremely important for you to get him to the vet just as soon as you can. Once your cat is on the exam table, your vet will carry out a full physical, which will include taking a full medical history.

If you know your cat ate from an aloe plant in your home, cut a sample for your vet and put it into a plastic bag. Your vet will want to test the aloe to make sure this is what is making your cat so sick.

Your vet’s diagnostic process will include taking a urine sample and blood for blood work. She may also have your cat X-rayed to make sure he isn’t suffering from organ damage or any other illness. If you have given your cat aloe for medicinal purposes, tell your vet, especially if you realize that the aloe hasn’t had the latex removed.

Treatment of True Aloe Poisoning in Cats

The care your vet gives to your cat will be symptomatic, offering support so your cat begins recovering from his symptoms. The vet will want to remove all remaining aloe plant from your cat’s system, which may require the induction of vomiting. Once your cat has gotten rid of all plant material in his stomach, he may be given activated charcoal, which helps to neutralize the toxins still remaining in his digestive system. Once they have been neutralized, they will safely pass through your cat’s intestines.

Your cat may need intravenous fluids if he has become dehydrated. Oxygen therapy to increase the level of oxygen to all bodily organs may also be given.

Recovery of True Aloe Poisoning in Cats

Your cat’s recovery depends on two things: how much aloe he ate and how quickly he was given veterinary treatment. He should recover fully as long as he receives prompt treatment.

If your cat does suffer organ damage, his recovery will take longer and it will be more difficult. Your vet may require that you take your cat to her office for follow-up appointments. Once he comes home from being treated, give him a quiet place where he can rest and recover.

True Aloe Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Cosmo
Bombay
1 Year
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Crazy
Tired
Vomiting

My cat has eaten some aloe vera and he has thrown up 4 times over the past 4 days.He goes crazy then sleeps then throws up green stuff (aloe vera). What should i do?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1550 Recommendations
If Cosmo is continuing to vomit daily, and it is always green, two things might be a good idea. First, make sure he isn't continuing to eat the plant, as it isn't normal that it is staying in his stomach, and he is probably continuing to eat it. If that doesn't resolve his problem, he should see a veterinarian to be examined and given any treatment that he needs to stop that vomiting.

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Bobby
domestic short hair
4 Months
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

sleeping

One of my 4 month old kittens got into my aloe plant last night. Two leaves were bitten off. I now read that this plant is toxic to cats. He started the day normal, he ate food and had water, he is not throwing up or anything else but he is sleeping under the bed now and has been since this morning. What should I do?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
Normal symptoms after ingestion include vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and in severe cases depression, tremors among other symptoms. Monitor Bobby for now but if there is no improvement in his activity levels you should visit your Veterinarian to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/aloe-vera/

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Kitty Mitty
DOMESTIC
5 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

inactive
lost apetite

My kitten (5 months) has lost his appetite, he is still eating but less food. He has become very inactive (not running around as much, sleeping under the bed more often or quietly sitting in one place) over the last 3 days. I am assuming he may have eaten some of the aloe vera plant in my kitchen. However, he hasn't vomited or had any changes in urine or stool. His behaviour is unusual because he is normally a very playful cat which makes me feel like he is unwell.

Other relevant details:
- He is an indoor kitten
- He has been vaccinated at the vets
- He has had de-worming and flea treatments
- He hasn't been nutured yet
- He eats a combination of wet and dry food

Is there any help or advice you have?

Kind Regards,

A very worried cat mom
([email protected])

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1550 Recommendations
Kittens can be prone to infectious diseases and intestinal problems or foreign bodies - you have clearly taken care of Kitty Mitty, and the problems that he is having may be unrelated to anything you have done. It would be best to have him examined by a veterinarian, as they will be able to assess him and give you an idea as to any treatment that he may need.

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Dobby
tabby
4 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Loss of Appetite

My 4 month old kitty who is a voracious eater suddenly didn't want to eat this morning. We are guessing he chewed on the aloe vera plant in the dining room. He has no other symptoms other than being slightly less playful with his brother. Should we take him to the vet? Or wait to see if he feels better later. We have moved the plant and he nibbled a bit on some food.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3232 Recommendations
I cannot say for certain whether the symptoms are attributable to the aloe vera plant or another cause; but usual symptoms do include vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and in severe cases depression, tremors among other symptoms. Monitor Dobby for now but if there is no improvement visit your Veterinarian by the end of the day. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/aloe-vera/

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