As we come into the spring season we want to stress the importance of pets avoiding toxic plants!
The Most Dangerous Lilies for Cats
The most dangerous and potentially fatal lilies for cats are those found in the genus Lilium and Hemerocallis. These beautiful and affordable flowers are often found in cut-flower bouquets or potted for the Easter holiday. If you have cats at home, it’s critical that you do not bring these flowers inside.
- Asiatic lily – including hybrids (Lilium asiatica)
- Daylily (Hemerocallis species)
- Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum)
- Japanese Show lily (Lilium speciosum)
- Rubrum lily (Lilium speciosum var. rubrum)
- Stargazer lily (Lilium ‘Stargazer’- a hybrid)
- Tiger lily (Lilium tigrinum or lancifolium)
- Wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum or umbellatum)
These beautiful and affordable flowers are often found in cut-flower bouquets or potted for the Easter holiday. If you have cats at home, it’s critical that you do not bring these flowers inside. The toxin has not been identified, but exposure to any part of the plant, including leaves, flowers, pollen, or even the water from the vase may result in acute kidney failure in cats. These ingestions are medical emergencies requiring immediate veterinary care. Early decontamination, aggressive intravenous fluid therapy, renal function tests, and supportive care greatly improve the cat’s prognosis. A delay of treatment of more than 18 hours after ingestion generally results in irreversible renal failure. Dogs may experience minor gastrointestinal upset after ingestion of these lilies but do not appear to develop kidney damage. If you have cats at home, it’s critical that you do not bring these flowers inside.
Other types of dangerous “lily” plants include the lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) and gloriosa or flame lily (Gloriosa superba). Lily of the valley contains cardenolides or digitalis like toxins which do not cause kidney failure, but may cause life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias and death when ingested by dogs, cats, or people. Equally toxic to all animals is the gloriosa lily. The toxic agent is colchicine (toxic to rapidly dividing cells); the roots or tubers may contain enough toxins to cause serious multi-system organ failure in cats and dogs that chew on them. Early and aggressive therapy is generally needed when these plants are ingested.
Less serious consequences occur when pets chew or swallow plant pieces from “lilies” such as the calla lily (Zantedeschia spp.) and peace lily (Spathiphyllum spp.) which contain insoluble oxalate crystals that are direct irritants to the mouth, tongue, throat, and esophagus. Drooling, foaming, or pawing at the mouth, vocalization, and vomiting are commonly reported when pets chew on these plants; respiratory distress due to swelling of the airway can occur but is more rare. The Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria spp.) contains tulipalin A, a toxin that may cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting or diarrhea if ingested in large amounts. None of these lilies cause acute kidney failure in cats like the Lilium or Hemerocallis (daylily) species.
If you think your pet may have come into contact with any dangerous plants, please call our office immediately at 315 655 3409!
Tiger Lily Daylily