Responsible pet parenting includes knowing what plants are toxic to our furry kids. The safest way for plants and pets to coexist is to have only non-toxic plants in your pet's environment. When that isn't possible, it is best to know what symptoms may indicate potential ingestion or exposure to a toxic plant. If you ever suspect a plant poisoning, contact your veterinarian immediately and take the plant with you to aid in identifying the appropriate treatment for your pet.
Types of plant exposure can vary with seasons. In this article we will identify poisonous plants which are more popular during the spring.
Lilies are toxic to cats only; and not all lilies are a problem. Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies contain oxalate crystals that can cause minor signs: irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus. Other signs such as drooling, pawing at the mouth, foaming, and vomiting may also be seen.
The lilies you want to watch out for include: tiger, day, Asiatic hybrid, Easter, Japanese Show, rubrum, stargazer, red, Western, and wood lilies. These are so toxic to cats that even ingesting small amounts of the plant or drinking the water from the vase can result in severe, acute kidney failure. Common signs to watch for are vomiting, inappetence, lethargy, diarrhea, seizures and death. Treatment for lily poisoning in cats includes IV fluids and kidney function monitoring. The sooner fluids are started; the better the outcome.
Other names for Rhododendron include Rosebay and Azalea. These plants are toxic to both dogs and cats. Signs seen may depend on the amount of plant consumed. Watch for drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, weakness, loss of coordination, drunken walk, difficulty using legs, lethargy, seizures, coma, and death. Many species of rhododendron exist and some are more toxic than others. All parts of the plant are poisonous.
Tulips are toxic to dogs and cats. It is the bulb of the tulip which contains the highest concentration of toxins. Ingestion can cause loss of appetite, vomiting, depression, diarrhea, drooling, seizures, and heart abnormalities. Pets may be exposed by digging up freshly planted bulbs or by contact with a bag of unplanted bulbs. As a side note, hyacinths belong to the same plant family and can cause the same symptoms if ingested.
(Photos courtesy of the ASPCA.)