Lily Toxicity in Felines

Lilies are beautiful, come with most flower arrangements, and are in many homes especially during the Spring and around Easter time. Unfortunately, most cat owners are unaware of the dangers a lily possesses for cats.

All members of the scientific species Lilium, have toxic principles that cause acute kidney injury and kidney failure in cats. It’s not just the petals, but the water in the vase, the pollen, the leaves, the stem and essentially every part of the lily.

What do I do if my cat is exposed to lilies?

Take a photo of the lily, and immediately dispose of the lily in a closed outdoor trash can. DO NOT bring the lily with you to the veterinary hospital because you could potentially expose other cats to this toxin at the hospital. Go to the nearest veterinary hospital that allows for 24 hours hospitalization, such as a specialty veterinary hospital like Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services. It is standard care to hospitalize your pet for at least 48 hours, if not more, if your pet has ingested the lily. A veterinarian has to monitor blood levels of kidney related values to ensure that kidney failure does not occur. Do not wait for the next day, or two days later when your vet has an open appointment. Lily toxicities are REAL and can lead to death. Like most toxicities, the sooner you get to the vet and start intravenous fluid therapy, the better your cat’s prognosis.

What happens if my dog eats the lilies?

Lilies are non-toxic to dogs, but may cause gastrointestinal upset due to foreign plant material ingestion. On occasion, if not chewed properly, it can also lead to an obstruction. This could be a problem and your pet will need to be seen by a veterinarian.

Protect your cats and kittens! Do not bring lilies into your home and do not wait if exposure to lilies occurs. At the very least, if your cat has not ingested lilies but has been exposed to them, the veterinarian will ask to run blood work. It can be very expensive, so be diligent and we advise that you invest in pet insurance. You never know what may happen, and it can be a life saver. Literally.

We at Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services wish you a safe and joyous spring!

Sources:

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals “Lily” https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/lily

University of California, Davis “Lilies Kill Cats” https://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/whatsnew/images/liliespoison_flyer.pdf

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