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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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True Aloe Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Domestic Cat

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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4 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Diarrhea

My kitty nibbled on an Aloe Vera plant. I don’t think she ate any, just bit into the leaves. Unfortunately I’m just now seeing it’s toxic. She has had diarrhea for 2 days, but is still acting normal and eating, drinking and playing. Do we need to take her to the vet or keep an eye on her at home? Thank you for your advice.

July 25, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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4 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Aloe can be very irritating to the GI tract, and if the diarrhea started around the same time as she chewed the plant, that may be the cause. You can try feeding her a bland diet of boiled white chicken and boiled white rice for 2 to 3 days, and see if that helps. If the diarrhea continues, or she is vomiting or lethargic, then it would be best to have your veterinarian look at her. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 25, 2020

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Cat

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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4 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

She bit an aloe plant

July 19, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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4 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If your cat bit into the aloe plant, you may not see any signs. Aloe plants are very caustic and irritating to the mouth and GI tract, and if she ate some of it there is a worry for GI upset. If she bit it, and didn't swallow any, she may be okay. It would be best to watch her for any signs of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or a loss of appetite. Also if she is pawing at her face or her mouth or seems painful then it would be the best to have her seen by a veterinarian. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 19, 2020

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Loverboy

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Ragdoll

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7 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Won'T Eat Or Drink
High Fever 105*

my cat developed a high fever 105* for 4days, stopped eating and drinking took him to vets had a water patch for hydration but tiny bites 3 tsp over 6 days. nothing on blood work up but x rays shows inflammation all in digestive tract to colon area. gave him one anti inflammatory on3 days ago, and temp didn't come down. gave him tiny bit of steroid, then sent him home. he ate bit and temp is down today to 101* but still lethargic and laying around, not eating or grooming himself. Also checked blood for parasites and found none he said. What can I give him to help reduce inflammation and fever? that is natural. CBD oil?

Aug. 23, 2018

Loverboy's Owner

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1 Recommendations

Without knowing what your Veterinarian has given, I cannot recommend anything specific to give to Loverboy; the use of products like CBD oil have little scientific basis at the moment and it is difficult to take something seriously when it is claimed to treat everything from inflammation to curing cancer. You should speak with your Veterinarian since Loverboy is under their duty of care and see what they recommend based on what has already been prescribed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 24, 2018

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RAMSEY

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DOMESTIC BLACK

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4 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Fever
Disorientation
Loss Of Appetite
Loss Of Vision

MY CAT STOPED EATING AND IS JUST LAYING AROUND. I HAVE ALOE IN MY HOUSE AND DID NOT KNOW IT IS POISINOUSE TO CATS. I TOOK HIM TO THE VET THURSDAY HE HAS A FEVER OF 104 THEY DID A CAT LEUKIEMIA TEST IT CAME BACK NEGATIVE. HE IS NOT THOWING UP OR POOPING MUCH. I HAVE TO FEED HIM LIKE A BABY. THE VET GAVE HIM ATIBIOTICS AND GAVE HIM A SHOT FOR FEVER AND PAIN. HE STILL ISNT BETTER SO I TOOK HIM BACK TO THE VET ON MONDAY BECAUSE HE ACTS LIKE HE CANT SEE AND HE IS WALKING AROUND LIKE A ROBOT AND HE SWATS AT THE AIR BUT NOTHING IS THERE. SHE SAID HE STILL HAD FEVER AND SHE CAN TELL HE CANT SEE AND SHE DOESNT KNOW WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM. SHE GAVE ME MORE ANTIBIOTICS AND VITAMINS FOR HIM AND I WENT AND GOT HIM SOME MEDS FOR HIS FEVER YESTERDAY. HE IS STILL SICK AND WALKS AROUND WITH STIFF LEGS LIKE HE IS A ZOMBIE AND HE IS BLIND. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT COULD HAVE CAUSED THIS. HE COULD HAVE EATEN THE ALOE OR MAYBE RAN INTO THE WALL REALLY HARD BECAUSE HE WOULD ALWAYS RUN UP AND DOWN OUR HALL AND I THINK I HEARD HIM HIT THE WALL THE OTHER DAY, IM SO WORRIED I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO I HOPE HE MAKES IT. ITS BEEN ALMOST A WEEK SINCE HE GOT SICK. LELANA

Aug. 22, 2018

RAMSEY's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Aloe poisoning generally results in gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite etc…), some other symptoms have been reported in cases of large ingestions but don’t fit with these symptoms. Head trauma may be a possible cause, but if the symptoms are as severe as this we would expect certain tell tale symptoms of head trauma in addition to the symptoms presenting. For now, you can only offer the medication prescribed and give supportive care; monitor for improvement and return to your Veterinarian if there is no improvement. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 23, 2018

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Cosmo

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Bombay

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1 Year

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Moderate severity

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1 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Tired
Crazy

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?

Aug. 9, 2018

Cosmo's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 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.

Aug. 9, 2018

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Cheerio

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dsh

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10 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

I came home from work and found cat vomit on the floor. In the vomit were a couple chunks of my aloe plant that I didn't realize was poisonous. I have two cats so am unsure which one it was, but have an idea of who it could be based on previous plant-interested behavior. The cat is acting normal and wanted to eat. I am thinking I should monitor her for now and if she gets any more symptoms or throws up more will take her in. Does this seem like a good idea? Thank you.

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Sappho

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Maine Coon

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11 Weeks

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

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None So Far

My kitten, Sappho, took a piece of aloe from our plant and has been chewing it. I don't think she's been swallowing the whole leaf, maybe just some of the gel from inside (as she leaves the chewed-up stems on the floor, still intact). She seems to be okay, and has been eating/drinking/pooping normally from what we can tell. Still, she's so small that I'm worried even this will make her sick. We are making sure to keep an eye on her when she's in the room with the aloe plant and we're trying to find a spot or it where she won't reach it. Is there anything else we should look out for?

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Spice

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Dont know

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16 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

No Symptoms, Just A Question

I actually have a question, is aloe vera gel or juice okay for cats? I'm reading conflicting information online saying that it's great for pets, as long as it doesn't contain any of the outside part of the plant in the making of the product.

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Oliver

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Cat

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5 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My 5 month old kitten got into my moms aloe plant last night . He threw up once last. He seems to be acting normal today. I just read this article about aleo being toxic. Should I rush him to the vets??

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Oogie

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Shorthair

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6 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Too Soon To Say

I walked into my room to see my cat sitting next to my Aloe plant, forgetting I left the door open. I grabbed him immediately + inspected the plant, finding a piece of the tip had been bitten off of the plant.. It looked as if a tiny chunk was missing in between as if he bit it + spit it out. This just happened about 15 minutes ago, but I am a worrier + don't know if I should wait to see symptoms of anything wrong with Oogie or if I should rush him to the vet. He was fed dinner right after, I'm not sure if it's smart to try to get him to vomit up what he ate?? Ugh. Thank you for your help + time.

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