Why are Lilies Dangerous?

A lovely bouquet of flowers containing lilies may look beautiful on your table, but to your dog or cat, they could be deadly.

Lilies have a very pretty characteristic flower, yet all parts of the plant are toxic to dogs and cats.

Dogs are less likely to come into contact with lilies, and they are also less likely to groom themselves and lick the lily pollen off their coat.

However, cats are curious creatures, and any cat owner knows that nowhere in your home is out of bounds!​

The usual problem is that some of the lily pollen gets onto the cats coat, and is then groomed off, (although some cats may also chew at the leaves of the lily, or drink the water from the vase).

 

As the cat grooms, the lily pollen gets into the mouth, and from there into the bloodstream, where it rapidly damages their kidneys.

How will I know if my cat has ingested lily toxin?

You won't know that your cat is suffering with lily toxicity until after their kidneys have been damaged. 

 

Your cat will stop producing urine and stop drinking, they may vomit and be off colour.  

 

This happens very quickly, within hours, and by this point, it may be too late, and they could die within 1-2days.

If you even susoect that your cat has ingested some lily toxin, call your vet immediately.

What will the vet do?

The vet will take a blood sample to check your cat’s kidneys, and will start your cat on a drip, to flush the lily toxin out of the body.

Your cat will need to stay in hospital for at least 24 hours, but more like 36-48hours.

If the lily toxin has done a lot of damage to the kidneys, then your cat may need to stay in for longer than 2 days, or may even have to be euthanised if their kidneys have been damaged too much.

Your vet cannot assess how damaged the kidneys are without doing blood and urine tests

What can you do to prevent this happening?

One option is to never have lilies in your house or garden, this would be advisable if your cat likes to chew leaves.

 

Another is to snip out the stamens (the parts of the flower containing pollen) to reduce the chance of pollen getting onto your cat’s fur.

Are all lilies toxic?

Peace and Calla lilies are not thought to be deadly, but they are poisionous, and can cause mouth and throat irritation and, therefore wretching, vomiting and drooling are common signs, the irritation needs to be treated.

You should aways contact your vet in any lily-ingestion situation, as even if a less toxic lily was ingested, the irritation to the digestive tract can be serious.

©chertseyvets November 2020