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Lily Toxicity in Cats

The lily is a beautiful and highly fragrant plant commonly brought into the house in the spring and leading up to Easter, but did you know that lilies are extremely toxic to our feline friends? Here are some essential facts all cat owners should know about these plants. What types of lilies are toxic? All members of the genus Lilium (Easter Lily, Tiger Lily, Stargazer Lily, Asiatic Lily, Red Lily, Rubrum Lily, Western Lily, Wood Lily, etc.) and most members of the genus Hemorocallis (Day Lilies) are toxic. Some other plants with Lily in their name, such as the Peace Lily and Lily-of-thevalley are also toxic, but contain different toxins from true Lilies. What parts of the plant are toxic? All parts of the plant are toxic to catsleaves, stems, petals, stamens, and pollen. How much does a cat need to eat to be harmed? Ingestion of only a fraction of a single leaf or petal can be fatal. How do lilies cause harm to cats? Lily ingestion causes acute kidney failure and death. What are the clinical signs of lily toxicosis in cats? 2-6 hours post-ingestion: vomiting, inappetance, depression 12-36 hours post-ingestion: increased drinking, abnormally high or low urine output, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, depression How is lily ingestion/toxicity treated? Depending on how long ago ingestion occurred, your vet may induce vomiting. They will also likely administer activated charcoal to help bind any toxins that have not been absorbed yet. They will hospitalize your cat for 2-3 days on a high rate of IV fluids to reduce the risk of kidney damage and will closely monitor kidney values and urine production. Additional treatments may be required if evidence of kidney failure develops. What is the prognosis for lily toxicity in cats? If appropriate treatment is initiated within the first 12-18 hours the prognosis is good. If treatment is started after signs of kidney failure have developed, the prognosis is poor. What can I do to reduce the risk of my cat ingesting lilies? The only way to prevent an indoor cat from ingesting lilies is to not bring any into the house. If your cat goes outside, you can reduce their risk by not planting any of these plants in your yard. What should I do if I know or suspect that my cat has ingested part of a lily plant? Call your veterinarian right away! Even if you are not certain that your cat ate any, it is far better to initiate treatment in a cat that does not need it than to wait and potentially lose your pet to kidney failure.