Cats and dogs love to graze on our house plants. It is sometimes their favorite pastime; to
play with the parts that dangle and eat them once they have fallen off. Please meet Charlie. He like many others thought the new plant in the house was his own personal salad bar side dish. Very fun to play with, tasty to snack on and always available, it never rolls under the furniture. What he did not know was that he was eating one of the most common and most poisonous plants to cats and dogs. He was eating an Easter lily. Several days ago his dad brought home an Easter lily. Although he had heard the often exaggerated tales of poinsettia toxicity he had no idea Easter lilies were harmful.
Lily’s are among the most dangerous plants for cats and dogs to ingest due to their toxic effects on the kidneys. In reality Easter lilies can be more toxic than most any other plant and even more damaging than antifreeze. While poinsettias do not cause real harm other than a little stomach upset. Most of the plants in the lily family are toxic; these include Easter, Tiger, Rubrum, Asiatic, Japanese Show, Stargazer, Red, Wood, Western and some Day lilies. The entire plant including the dropped pollen and the water either left in the vase of cut flowers or drained through the soil of potted plants, is toxic. Just 2-3 petals or leaves can be fatal if ingested by a cat.
Vomiting soon after the initial ingestion may occur. If your cat or dog frequently eats your house plants you may see them vomit the pieces from time to time but never become ill. This is not true when they have eaten a lily. The kidneys will begin to fail causing your cat to feel sick and become dehydrated. If no treatment is instituted it will be a short time before the kidneys will completely shut down and urination will stop. Death will occur shortly after that. Treatment must begin within hours of the first ingestion for there to be a good chance for recovery.
Without his dad’s knowledge Charlie chewed on some of the lily’s leaves, became quite ill and vomited some of the plant. Charlie was presented to us when the owner noticed he was not feeling well. When it was discovered he had eaten an Easter Lily aggressive medical treatment was instituted to try and stop the lily toxin from damaging Charlie’s kidneys. Unfortunately, in spite of all efforts, Charlie passed away less than 24 hours later due to irreversible kidney failure. With the permission and support of Charlie’s dad we are sharing this tragic story. Like so many pet owners they were not aware Easter Lilies were poisonous. The doctors and staff of Lockridge Animal Hospital and Charlie’s owners did not want the loss of Charlie’s life to be in vain. Charlie was a beautiful, 5 year old indoor kitty who loved life and was full of energy. He had a wonderful home that he shared with two other cats, his mother and his sister. We wanted to share his story with you so you may pass on the information and potentially save another cat. If even a single cats’ life can be spared through the sharing of this story the loss of Charlie will have some meaning. Remember this beautiful boy and PLEASE NEVER BRING LILIES INTO YOUR HOME IF YOU HAVE PETS!