Lilies Are Too Dangerous to Be Beautiful

Lilies. They are among the most frequently used flowers in commercial arrangements. They are beautiful, colorful, fragrant, and hearty. They are symbols of purity and innocence and are so frequently used for religious holiday arrangements that there is even a flower called the Easter Lily. It’s a lovely flower, but if you are a cat and you eat it, you will probably die.

There are many plants that are labelled poisonous, but none are as deadly as the lily is for cats. Certain varieties, such as the Easter lily, tiger lily, Asiatic lily and the stargazer lily are the most toxic. Daylilies are less toxic but should never be in the home or planted outside if your cat goes outdoors. All parts of these plants including the leaf, flower, stamen, pollen, stem and root are poisonous to cats. Drinking the water in the vase or even licking pollen off of fur is poisonous. Since Easter is just a few weeks away and this flower is often used for the holiday celebration, all cat families must be aware never to have them in their homes.

Lilies are not poisonous to dogs. We don’t even know the exact mechanism of toxicity in cats. Ingestion causes acute kidney injury in cats. The onset of symptoms can be as quick as a few hours if a large amount of plant material is ingested. Sometimes symptoms begin after a day or two. Intravenous fluid treatment must be initiated as quickly as possible so care must begin even before symptoms if there is evidence of ingestion.

The initial symptoms in sick cats mimic a stomach upset which often resolves on its own. Then symptoms such as anorexia, excessive water drinking, lethargy and vomiting return twenty-four hours later. At this time immediate hospitalization for aggressive intravenous fluid treatment is required. Kidney dialysis is the most successful treatment although it is often not feasible due to limited location access and high cost. Without aggressive veterinary care, most cats who eat lilies will die. Even with aggressive treatment, some cats die anyway.

There is no specific test to diagnose lily poisoning and there is no antidote. This is a disorder that must be prevented. Cat owners should be aware of what these flowers look like and never have them in their homes or gardens. Inspect all gifted floral arrangements and discard the entire bouquet if any lilies are present.

Spread this Information by informing friends, family and your local florist of the risks lilies pose to cats so no more cats needlessly get sick or die from a beautiful flower. The photos used for this newsletter were obtained from Shutterstock who were notified to alert viewers that lilies are poisonous!

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