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    The 12 Days of Christmas: Pet Hazards Series (Day 5 - Lilies)

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    DAY 5: Lilies

    While lilies don’t exactly ‘scream’ Christmas – flowers do – and lilies are amongst the most common types of flowers found in bouquets at all times of the year, including Christmas.

    Lily toxicity is something everybody should be aware of, regardless of whether or not they have cats. Even non-cat owners need to know about this because they may well be the one to send you or bring over your next bouquet of flowers! If they’re not aware of the danger they won’t know to advise the florist that lilies should not be included in the bouquet.

    Lilies Kill Cats!
    Stargazer lilies, Rubrum lilies, Tiger lilies, and the other members of the Lilum genus, the ‘true lilies’ as they are known, are highly toxic to cats. So too are certain types of Day lilies.

    These types of lilies are so toxic, that a nibble on one or two petals, a lap of spilled vase water, or the ingestion of a small amount of pollen (such as what happens when a cat grooms itself) can be enough to put a cat into expensive, debilitating, and potentially fatal acute kidney failure.

    I’ve written on the dangers of lily toxicity in cats before. So for the sake of brevity, I’m including a link here for you to read more about it. It's important to spread the word that lilies kill cats!

    If your cat ingests any part of the lily...

    As with most pet toxicities, time is of the essence if you are to improve the chances of a favorable outcome for both your cat and your wallet.

    If you see your cat chewing on one of the aforementioned lilies, or if you see the results of them having done so (such as pieces of lily in their vomit), it is important that you bring your pet for veterinary evaluation and treatment straightaway. The benefits of early and aggressive diagnostics and treatment are typically an improved prognosis for full recovery and a decrease in overall treatment costs. The goal is to prevent acute renal failure from occurring, or to at least mitigate its severity, should it occur.

    Sadly, it’s common for many pet owners to take a ‘wait and see’ approach to pet poisonings, and though this is never an approach that I recommend, it is even less advisable in cases of lily exposure in cats. Again, the treatment for acute kidney failure once it has set-in is significantly more expensive (and less likely to help) than anything you would spend to undertake early and aggressive diagnostics and treatment to avoid the progression to acute kidney failure.

    If in you're in any doubt and want to talk to someone, call a pet poison control center. You should program these numbers into your phone for ease of reference.

    If you have cats...

    • Don’t bring lilies into your home - period. No matter how ‘out of reach’ you think you can put these flowers, the truth is that cats are excellent jumpers and, even more importantly, the pollen from the lilies will travel on the air currents in your house and the dying leaves will fall to the ground. It truly is not worth the risk.

    • Remove any lilies from bouquets that people may bring or send you.

    • Share this information with your friends and family, in as many ways as you can (word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter, email, whatever). The more of your loved ones that know about this, the lower the likelihood that they will send or bring you a bouquet containing these potentially deadly flowers.

    • Don’t let your cats outside. Even if you don’t have lilies in your garden, your neighbor may.

    • If you choose to let them outside, remove all toxic lilies from your garden or truly prevent your cat’s access to them (easier said than done - safest just to remove the lily plants).

    Here's to a wonderful, joyous, and safe holiday season!

    Lilies are Day 5.
    Just to be safe check out all the other "naughty" days in the 12 Days of Christmas Pet Hazards series.

    Topics: Cat Health, Cat Safety, pet safety tips, pet safety, toxicity in cats, Lilies, Tiger Lily, Lily Toxicity in Cats, Stargazer Lily, Lily Flowers, Rubrum Lily, Plants Poisonous for Cats, pet poison control, Poison control, Poison control for cats, Christmas pet hazards, Flowers

    Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

    Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

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