Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Popular flowers a fragrant pet-killer

By Kasha Stoll

Special to The Capital-Journal

Lynn Zoeller loves lilies. She also knows they are extremely dangerous to cats.

According to the National Animal and Poison Control Center, Easter and tiger lilies are toxic to cats regardless of sex or age.

"Cats can be poisoned by ingesting one or two leaves or flowers," said Wilson Rumbeiha, assistant professor of pathobiology and diagnostic investigation at Michigan State University.

He warned that symptoms could start within 30 minutes and include depression, vomiting and loss of appetite. Acute renal failure starts at about 48 hours.

Since the toxin hasn't been identified and there is no antidote, Rumbeiha said the mortality rate runs between 50 percent and 100 percent. The chance of survival increases dramatically, however, if medical treatment is begun within the first six hours after ingestion.

Dr. Emily Wood, a veterinarian at Burlingame Road Animal Hospital, 3715 S.W. Burlingame Road, said it is crucial for the cat to vomit out the toxins before the kidneys are affected.

If necessary, the veterinarians will use activated charcoal, she said. Following that, the cats are placed on intravenous fluids at a rate two times that of daily maintenance levels.

Prevention is the best medicine, however, and Zoeller, a florist with Custenborder Flowers, 1709 S.W. Gage Blvd., recommends two options.

The first is to keep the lilies away from the cats.

"Keep it in an area where the cats can't get to it," she said. "Put it in another room and shut the door."

Diane Barnes, a volunteer and a board member of the Cat Association of Topeka, said cats don't like the smell of citrus. She suggests laying orange peels on top of the dirt in potting plants, or spraying the plant's leaves with Bitter Apple, a product that doesn't hurt the plants but keeps cats away.

The second option Zoeller recommends is getting fresh plants that aren't toxic to cats. Daisies, pansies and tulips are good springtime choices.

Kasha Stoll can be reached at CAS_KLS@yahoo.com.

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2 comments:

Pet Poison Helpline said...

Thanks for spreading the word on pet toxicities on your blog ( - so important for pet owners to be aware of the lurking household poisons in (and outside of) their house! As an ER specialist, I see so many toxicities that owners bring in too late (making it more expensive to treat, with a worse prognosis!). When in doubt, it's so important to call a Poison Control for peace of mind!

I wanted to make you aware of another important resource out there also - Pet Poison Helpline is an Animal Poison Control Center, and it's one of the most cost-effective animal poison ($35/case vs. ASPCA's new $60/case) controls out there nowadays. Unfortunately, because animal poison controls are not federal- or state-funded, there is a fee to allow the service to be run 24-7. We provide a similar service, but have the added benefit of veterinary specialists (in internal medicine and emergency and critical care) as part of our staff. You can always call 1-800-213-6680 if you ever have a problem. Thanks for spreading the word!

BTW, daffodils and tulips, which you listed as safe plants to have in the house are toxic too. Check out "Spring toxins that affect your pet" at our website. Finally, it's NEVER worth changing your cat's kidneys by even thinking about bringing Easter, Asiatic, Tiger, and even Day lillies into the house, no matter what you do to secure the flower (i.e., you listed using citrus smells or putting them in another room). One accident can be fatal, so please heed caution! This is extremely deadly!
Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC
Associate Director of Veterinary Services
www.petpoisonhelpline.com
www.drjustinelee.com

Anonymous said...

Really? I didn't know this can be harmful with my pet. Thanks for sharing it. By the way, did you by chance see this article about Zootoo’s shelter makeover? http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-04-12-zootoo-shelter-clash_N.htm

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