What is Daylily Poisoning?
Lilies may be pretty to look at, but they are dangerous if eaten. In fact, humans as well as dogs can become sick, have heart arrhythmias, and even kidney failure from consuming this flower. Incredibly, 40 cardiac glycosides have been found in the lily so far, which are chemicals that contract the muscles of your heart, causing it to beat faster and significantly harder. It is essential to get your dog to your veterinarian or an animal hospital or clinic immediately if you believe he has eaten any kind of lily, even if he is not showing any symptoms.
There are many kinds of daylilies, but the one that is most dangerous to dogs is the true lily of the Lilium and Hemerocallis family. Some of the common ones are lily of the valley, wood, Western, tiger, red, stargazer, Easter, Asiatic hybrid, rubrum, Japanese show, and day lilies. These are extremely dangerous and can cause kidney failure and heart arrhythmia, leading to death if not treated right away. The lilies that are not as poisonous to dogs are calla, Peruvian, and peace lilies to name a few. These have insoluble oxalate crystals that cause pain and irritation to the mouth, tongue, esophagus, and pharynx if chewed on. Luckily, the pain from these lilies is usually enough to stop most dogs from eating a dangerous amount. However, these are deadly for cats, so it is best not to have these in your home if you have a cat.
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Symptoms of Daylily Poisoning in Dogs
- Appetite loss
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Unusual urination or thirst
- Red eyes, mouth, and tongue.
- Severe toxic poisoning from true lilies
- Mild poisoning from daylily
Causes of Daylily Poisoning in Dogs
- There are two types of lilies with different types of damaging chemicals
- Oxalate crystals in the daylilies cause pain and possible intestinal ulceration
- 40 cardiac glycosides have been found in the lily
- Kidney failure and heart arrhythmia are possible
Diagnosis of Daylily Poisoning in Dogs
Bring a part of the lily that your dog consumed to help the veterinarian diagnose your dog faster. The quicker the diagnosis, the sooner the treatment can be started. Also, give the veterinarian all the information you can about the incident: when it happened, how much and what part of the plant your dog consumed, and if you have seen any adverse effects. It is best to have your dog’s medical records with you, but if not, you can tell the veterinarian all he needs to know about your dog, such as age, general health, vaccinations given, last injury or illness, and any behavior changes you have noticed. The veterinarian will do a comprehensive physical examination of your dog including blood pressure, body temperature, reflexes, weight, physical appearance, heart rate, respirations, pulse oximetry, lung sounds, and inspection of the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. An endoscope may be used to view esophagus and remove any plant material. This procedure is done using a long, flexible tube with a camera on the end. Your dog will most likely be anesthetized during the procedure.
Laboratory tests will be conducted as well. Some of these are a complete blood count (CBC), electrolytes, biochemistry panel, blood gases, and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels. Many of the levels will be increased in the case of lily poisoning including phosphates, potassium, creatinine, and proteins. A urinalysis should show a decrease in specific gravity, epithelial casts, and increased glucose, amylase. and lipase. Radiographs (x-rays) will be done to view your dog’s intestinal tract and stomach to determine what damage may have been done. In addition, an ultrasound will be used to measure the size of the kidneys and assess the damage that has already been caused. In some cases, your veterinarian may use an MRI or CT scan to get a better view of the kidneys or stomach.
Treatment of Daylily Poisoning in Dogs
Early decontamination can help reduce the symptoms, so the veterinarian will induce vomiting with a hydrogen peroxide medication. Also, activated charcoal is recommended if it has been less than three hours since ingestion. Gastric lavage can be done to further empty the stomach of any toxins left in your dog’s system. Fluid therapy with IV within the first 48 hours can greatly reduce kidney damage and renal failure. The veterinarian will give saline two or three times within the first two days. If renal damage has already occurred, dialysis is essential to prevent permanent damage to the kidneys.
Recovery of Daylily Poisoning in Dogs
If your dog is treated within the first 18 hours and there have been no renal system symptoms, the prognosis is good. However, if there have been any signs of kidney damage or failure, the prognosis is not good and the veterinarian will only be able to offer supportive treatment to make your dog as comfortable as possible during the time he has left. Be sure to get rid of all lily plants in and outside of your home and avoid parks with these toxic flowers. If you have any questions or concerns, call your veterinarian.