What is Easter Lily Poisoning?
The Easter lily plant is known scientifically as Lilium longiflorum. This plant has a nice scent, and is a popular addition to the decor of many homes at Easter time. The flower of this pretty plant is white and trumpet shaped. Though the plant presents a high rate of toxicity to cats who ingest it, many pet owners are not aware of the dangers posed by it. There are no documented cases of poisoning by Easter lily in dogs, but there is a definite possibility of effects such as gastrointestinal upset or internal obstruction if your dog eats a large amount of this plant.
Most cases of ingestion of the Easter lily by canines will mean mild gastrointestinal upset simply because the digestive systems of dogs are not used to processing plant material, especially in large quantities. While considered as lethal to cats, the Easter lily is not toxic to dogs but this does not mean your canine companion should have free rein to ingest this plant.
The Easter lily is known to be extremely toxic to the feline species. While this flower is not documented as poisonous to dogs, ingestion of the flower in large quantities may lead to digestive discomfort.
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Symptoms of Easter Lily Poisoning in Dogs
On any occasion that your pet ingests a potentially poisonous plant, a veterinary evaluation should be considered. In the case of the Easter lily, the ingestion by a dog will most likely result in mild side effects. However, canines who are aged or who have an underlying disease process that affects the toxicity could experience more serious signs of illness. The typical signs that will be seen in dogs who ingest the Easter lily are:
There may be additional signs of an obstruction such as abdominal tenderness, vocalization of pain, or lethargy. (Not typically seen in canines, symptoms of poisoning in cats will also include serious effects such as seizures and even death.)
There are many types of lilies that present a danger to dogs. Though there have been no cases of recorded deaths in dogs due to this plant, ingestion of the stems, flowers, leaves and water the lily was placed in, can all cause stomach upset in dogs. Just a few of the other lilies that are known to be poisonous to dogs are the calla lily, red lily, wood lily, and peace lily.
Causes of Easter Lily Poisoning in Dogs
Consuming a petal or two of the Easter lily may not affect your dog at all. The ingestion of a large quantity of the plant will bring the risk of toxicity. Other factors that can cause ingestion of the Easter lily to be more dangerous are:
- The Easter lily is known to be susceptible to the botrytis mold, which can make your pet suffer nausea and vomiting if he eats a part of the plant inflicted by the spores
- If your pet ingests parts of the Easter lily plant from a neighbor’s yard or a park area, the chance of pesticide poisoning is possible if the plant was sprayed with chemicals
- Dogs who graze for a long period of time on the Easter lily may experience a buildup of plant matter in the intestine, stomach or bowel which presents the risk of an obstruction
Diagnosis of Easter Lily Poisoning in Dogs
If at any time you see your pet sampling a plant or if you find plant material in and around his mouth, a veterinary visit may be warranted. Bring a section of the plant to the clinic for identification and as an aid to the diagnostic process. Take note of the time so you can advise the veterinarian of the time lapse between the event and evaluation.
If your pet is experiencing nausea and vomiting when he arrives at the clinic, the veterinary team may examine and analyze the vomitus for plant material and to rule out other toxins that may produce the symptoms that your pet is exhibiting. Often, standard tests in any diagnostic protocol will include complete blood count, urinalysis, and fecal sample. These tests are done so the veterinarian can determine your pet’s present state of health, and so that any underlying disease processes that may exacerbate the toxicity symptoms can be ruled out. A physical examination will be done and will include listening to the heart, pulse, and lung sounds, and palpation of the abdomen in case of tenderness.
Treatment of Easter Lily Poisoning in Dogs
Fortunately, most cases of Easter lily ingestion will resolve with very little complication. If your canine companion ate a large quantity of the flower and is vomiting excessively, the veterinarian may suggest intravenous treatment in order to avoid the dehydration that often accompanies nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The intravenous therapy will also be useful in that medications which may need to be administered to combat a very upset stomach can be easily given. The fluids can also help to flush the system and aid in kidney function.
If your dog is having trouble eliminating the plant material from the body, cathartic medications can be prescribed that will help to move the remaining Easter lily plant through the digestive system. Further treatment will be determined by the age of your pet, the effects of the Easter lily on his organs, and whether there are any concurrent illnesses that may be exacerbating the toxicity. If pesticides or mold are a concern, the appropriate measures will be taken by the veterinarian as required.
Recovery of Easter Lily Poisoning in Dogs
Care should always be taken with a pet that likes to chew on or ingest vegetation and greenery. Many pet owners are not aware of the dangerous plants that can be found in parks, fields, and gardens everywhere. Not allowing your pet to freely graze on any plant material is the wisest choice. When your pet returns from the clinic, monitor his behavior and alert the veterinarian to any changes that cause you concern.
Easter Lily Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My dog may have eaten a leaf of an Easter Lilly or fertilized dirt. Dirt was on the ground next to the plant. There have not been blooms on flower. Should i take her to the vet or watch her for a while or what?
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