This may come as a surprise to you: there are many flowers and plants that are potentially toxic to our pets. There are those who are aware of the toxicity of certain plants as, for instance, during the month of December, emergency pet hospitals often receive calls from worried pet owners because their pet has been nibbling on poinsettia leaves. It is a good thing that these owners know that there are plants that can be dangerous to their pets and that they have enough education to understand that poinsettias are one of these plants, however, there are many other flowers and plants which are even more dangerous for our pets, and more common than December’s poinsettia. One of these potentially dangerous flowers is the lily.
Lily Poisoning in Cats
Plain and simple, cats and lillies do not mix well. With only a quick lick or a small nibble, you could have serious problems.
For cats, the lilies flowers can be extremely dangerous. If your cat takes just a small nibble or licks the flower, the result can be acute kidney failure, and even lead to death. If you have cats in your home, you should never have lilies. It is a good idea to remember to specifically request that lilies not be sent to a home that has a cat, whenever you order a bouquet of flowers. Sweet-smelling lily flowers are very common, and are often used as centerpieces and in wedding bouquets. These true lilies include: Rubrum Lily, Easter Lily, Tiger Lily, Japanese Show Lily, and the Stargazer Lily. Even though they can be quite beautiful, it is unfortunate that they can be so dangerous when cats are around. The problem comes when your cat takes even a small bite of the stem or leaf. Even the ingestion of lily pollen in small amounts can send your cat into acute kidney failure, sending you quickly to the emergency veterinarian. Unfortunately, your cat can ingest the pollen simply by grooming himself.
This condition of renal failure is quite debilitating for your pet and, of course for you, can be very expensive. The good news is acute kidney failure, which is the result of eating lilies, can have a positive outlook, as long as you pursue aggressive treatment early. The opposite is also true, the outlook becomes grave if you do not recognize that the lily has been ingested and too much time passes. When this occurs, it is more likely that your pet will either die horribly from the disease, or will need to be euthanized. It is a sad truth that acute kidney failure will be fatal without proper treatment.
When treating for acute kidney failure, which has been caused from the ingestion of a lily, there needs to be aggressive IV fluids, nutritional support, injectable medications, and the cat must be very closely monitored. If it is noted that this treatment is not proving to be successful, other advanced options will need to be considered, such as: continuous renal replacement therapy, renal dialysis, or peritoneal dialysis. These procedures are not always available at every veterinarian clinic, and they are quite expensive. Because the treatment that is needed for acute kidney failure, caused by lily toxicity, is so extreme, it would be best if your cat was treated at an emergency veterinarian hospital that specializes in this kind of treatment, right from the beginning.
As you can see from the above information, it is extremely important that you prevent your cat from being exposed to lilies in any manner, in order to make sure you prevent this form of toxicity. There is. of course, a very easy way to prevent this.
If you have cats in your home, lilies should never be there. No matter how far out of reach you may believe they are, the risk of toxicity for your cat is not worth having these flowers.