Easter Pet Poisons

Lilies and Cats

 

Every part of the Easter lily plant is poisonous – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats need only ingest one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, and they can suffer severe kidney failure.  Thankfully, lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Lily poisoning does not occur in dogs or people. However, if a large amount is ingested, it can result in mild gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

Be keenly aware of the symptoms, as they usually develop within 6 to 12 hours from time of exposure, and there is no antidote.  Early signs include vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, and dehydration.  The symptoms will worsen as kidney failure develops.  Some cats will experience disorientation, staggering and seizures.

Treatment includes intravenous fluid therapy to flush out the kidneys, administering drugs to bind the poison in the stomach and intestines, inducing vomiting, and monitoring of kidney function through blood testing.  If left untreated, your cat’s chances of survival are not good and the expense to the owner goes up considerably.

Tiger lilies, Day lilies and Asiatic lilies are toxic to cats as well and can also result in severe acute kidney failure. Though these do not generally grow in our hot Florida climate, these lilies are commonly found in florist bouquets.  It is, therefore, imperative to check for poisonous flowers before bringing bouquets into the household. Other types of lilies – such as the Peace, Peruvian and Calla lilies – are usually not a problem for cats and may cause only minor drooling.

 

Easter Grass

Usually green or yellow in color, Easter grass is the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. When your cat or dog ingests something “stringy” like Easter grass, it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.

Chocolate

Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, contains both caffeine and theobromine, a chemical compound that makes humans feel good, but causes sickness in cats and dogs.  These animals can’t quickly metabolize theobromine.  So as a result, it lingers in their body.  Even a small amount can cause dogs to vomit and have diarrhea; in larger doses, it can be critical.  Symptoms usually appear within 12 hours of consuming the chocolate.  If your dog has eaten chocolate, call your vet for advice.  If it’s within four hours of your dog ingesting it, the vet can induce vomiting.  Longer than that and your dog will be given activated charcoal to prevent its gut absorbing more toxins, and be put on a drip to flush out the theobromine faster.

It’s unlucky that dogs have such a sweet tooth, and that cats are attracted to fatty foods – and chocolate does contain fat. However, it’s rare for cats to eat chocolate, as they can’t taste sugary foods.

Keeping Healthy, Happy Holiday Pets

Since chocolate is off the menu for your furry friends, you can curb their sad eyes with other treats.  When the humans are opening Easter eggs, offer a liver treat or meaty bone to your dog, and a new toy for your cat.

In addition to keeping sweet treats out of reach of paws and claws and ensuring uneaten eggs are kept in the pantry or fridge, quarantine your dog from any Easter egg hunts.

Spring is in the air and Easter is a wonderful holiday. Remember that your pets will be curious about new items you bring into your household like Easter lilies, Easter grass and chocolate. Keep them a safe distance away from your pets’ reach and enjoy the holiday and the season.

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