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Beautiful but Deadly: Why you Should Keep Easter Lilies Out of Your Home

Published on March 21, 2016

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Lilies are One Flower You May Want to Avoid

Easter is quickly approaching, falling on March 27th this year. It’s the time of the Easter bunny, painted eggs, chocolates, marshmallow peeps and lovely Easter lilies. If you’re a plant person, you may welcome this beautiful flower into your household each spring. After all, it’s elegant pedals help brighten up the mood and welcome spring. However, if you have cats living in your home you should strike this off your Easter list because Easter Lilies, and in fact all lilies, are extremely poisonous to cats.

The beautiful white flowers that we call Easter lilies are native to Japan and Taiwan and have been popular in the United States for over a hundred years. They are quite decorative and are frequently given as Easter gifts as potted flowers or in cut flower arrangements. Unfortunately, all parts of the plant, even the pollen, can result in toxicosis if ingested by cats.

Symptoms of Lily Poisoning

While it is unknown what toxin in lilies makes them so harmful to felines (lilies are not poisonous to dogs) it only takes a small amount to have serious effects. If your precious kitty were to put her mouth on any segment of this plant, you could observe signs of poisoning. Some common indications of Easter lily toxicity in cats are exhaustion, decreased appetite, lethargy, vomiting, reclusive behavior, diarrhea, bad breath, inappropriate urination and excessive thirst, kidney failure, seizures and even death. The bottom line is, Easter lilies are an extreme health hazard to cats so please ensure that your cat never goes remotely near these plants.

Start Treatment ASAP!

However, even with all fair warning, some of us may fall victim to receiving one of these plants as an Easter gift or perhaps a floral arrangement from your significant other.  If you suspect that your cat may have ingested any part of a lily, it is imperative that you take him or her to a veterinarian for immediate emergency care.

Treatment usually starts with a focus on decontamination (activated charcoal if the ingestion was caught early enough) followed by fluid therapy for the next 48 hours. If intravenous fluids are delayed more than 18-24 hours after ingestion then it is likely that acute kidney failure will occur. Monitoring of kidney values and urine samples will be conducted at 24, 48 and 72 hours after initial treatment begins.

When caught in time, these problems can usually be arrested and kidney function restored; if not, then permanent kidney damage can occur, and sometimes even death.

Prevention is always better than a cure! So please be diligent about banning these plants from your house to protect your furry friend.

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