What is Wild Carnation Poisoning?

The exact toxins in the wild carnation plant are unknown, although it is suspected that the wild carnation contains saponins, a gastrointestinal irritant in domestic pets. Wild carnation poisoning is not typically severe or life-threatening. However, without the help of a veterinary professional, owners cannot know the full extent of poisoning even if symptoms appear mild. If you have reason to believe your cat has ingested the wild carnation, you should take it to the vet immediately to relieve its discomfort.

The wild carnation is a common type of house and garden flower that is toxic to dogs and cats. The wild carnation can grow to be roughly 20 inches tall. This plant has been commonly used in foods and home remedies in humans, but can irritate the gastrointestinal tracts and skin of animals that are unable to digest it. Recognize the wild carnation by its vibrant pink or red petals and long stems.

Symptoms of Wild Carnation Poisoning in Cats

Gastrointestinal signs of wild carnation poisoning usually manifest rapidly following ingestion, typically within two hours. Take your cat to the vet immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms.

  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive itching
  • Red or swollen skin
  • Lesions on the skin

Types

The wild carnation is known by several different names, including:

  • Dianthus caryophyllus
  • Pinks
  • Sweet William
  • Carnation

Causes of Wild Carnation Poisoning in Cats

The cause of wild carnation poisoning is ingestion of the flower. The exact toxins of the wild carnation are unknown, although it may contain saponins, which usually causes mild gastrointestinal upset when ingested in small quantities. It is unclear which parts of the plant contain the highest concentration of toxins. Since wild carnation poisoning causes gastrointestinal signs quickly after digestion, it is unlikely that cats will ingest large quantities of the flower. However, if your cat has ingested any part of the wild carnation in any quantity, you should consult your vet immediately.

Diagnosis of Wild Carnation Poisoning in Cats

If the wild carnation is your own home or garden flower, take a sample of it with you when you go to the vet. Tell your vet how long your cat has been exhibiting symptoms, and provide an estimate of how much of the wild carnation your cat ate, if you can.

Physical examination and blood and urine tests are usually sufficient to confirm wild carnation poisoning. Other tests are usually not required, but may be recommended by your vet based on your cat’s symptoms.

Treatment of Wild Carnation Poisoning in Cats

Wild carnation poisoning is usually treating with the same methods used for other mild cases of plant poisoning. Standard treatment includes the administration of activated charcoal, starting intravenous fluid therapy, and administering anti-emetics. Activated charcoal can absorb undigested toxins and saponins in your cat’s stomach. Intravenous fluid therapy helps correct fluid imbalances, particularly in cats that are dehydrated. Antiemetics will reduce vomiting in cats that are experiencing persistent vomiting. Topical ointments or other drugs to reduce skin inflammation may also be administered.

In severe cases of wild carnation poisoning associated with ingestion of larger quantities, your vet will recommend treatment based on symptoms.

Recovery of Wild Carnation Poisoning in Cats

If the poisoning is diagnosed and treated quickly, recovery and prognosis for most mild cases of wild carnation poisoning is usually good to excellent. Cats presenting mild cases of wild carnation poisoning usually make a full recovery within as little as four hours following treatment. For mild cases of wild carnation poisoning, follow-up appointments usually aren’t required. 

Prognosis for severe cases of wild carnation poisoning may be guarded. Your vet may schedule follow-up appointments as needed if your cat has severe symptoms or has ingested large quantities of the wild carnation.

If your cat ingested the wild carnation while outdoors, you may choose to remove the plant, if possible, or reduce or monitor your cat’s outdoor activity to ensure they don’t become poisoned again in the future. It is always a good idea to research plants and flowers before making any purchases to ensure they do not contain substances that are toxic to your cat.