Dali is a 5 year old cat who was admitted this week after eating a lily leaf and getting lily pollen all over her face.
The Lilium species – Asiatic, Japanese, tiger lily, stargazer and Western lilies are all toxic to cats. All parts cause damage to the kidney cells with a high mortality rate if treatment is not started within 18-24 hours. The prognosis is worse if the cat already has kidney disease, or if symptoms such as loss of appetite, vomiting, depression, increased thirst and urination or convulsions have started. If treatment is started before signs of kidney impairment appear the prognosis for a full recovery is much better. Unfortunately there is no specific test for lily poisoning.
Because of the potential severity of the condition, Dali was immediately admitted. Her fur was cleaned, she was given a dose of activated charcoal to absorb toxins in her stomach, and she had 48 hours of aggressive intravenous fluid therapy. An initial blood test at this stage showed no abnormalities, so she was discharged. A repeat blood test a further 48 hours later also showed no abnormalities. This means that Dali’s owner’s observations and swift actions have saved her from potentially life threatening kidney damage.
Please avoid having lilies in your house if you have a cat. If you suspect your cat has had contact with a lily plant, please contact us immediately even if they do not initially appear unwell.