Lily poisoning

Ginger Ninja is a gorgeous loveable puss that lives with one of our flower loving nurses. He is a character, does forward rolls, isn’t too fazed by much, but he isn’t the most intelligent of cats at times.

Our nurse got phoned by one of the kids to say that Ginge had eaten some of the lilies that were on the table.

Question was… how much was too much and whether or not to worry??

There are benign and dangerous lilies and it is important to know the difference! Lilies such as the Peace Peruvian and Calla lilies are benign. They contain insoluble oxalate crystals that cause minor signs, such as an irritated mouth. Clinical signs that may be seen are drooling, pawing at the mouth, foaming and vomiting.

The more dangerous and potentially fatal lilies – Lilium or Hemerocallis species, include the Tiger, Day, Western, Wood, Red, Stargazer, Rubrum, Japanese show, Easter, and Asiatic hybrid lilies. Even small ingestions, two or three leaves or even the pollen or water from the vase, can result in severe acute kidney failure.  Other types of dangerous lilies, including Lily of the Valley, can cause life-threatening heart arrhythmias and death when eaten by cats or dogs.

Common signs to watch for are inappetence, lethargy, hiding, vomiting, diarrhoea, halitosis, dehydration, inappropriate thirst or urination, or seizures.

If your cat is seen consuming any part of a lily, please bring the cat (and a picture of the plant) in as soon as possible. Decontamination is important in the early stage, along with intravenous fluids (ideally started within 18 hours for best results), blood tests to monitor kidney function and supportive care.

Ginge, even with no clinical signs, started his intravenous fluids, without a care in the world. He remained on them for 36-48 hours and after a blood test showing no change to his kidneys, we stopped treatment.

Ginge went home and lived to do more forward rolls!


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