Everything Animals: Keeping Gardens Safe for Pets - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Everything Animals: Keeping Gardens Safe for Pets

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Dr. John Eustis from Orchard Veterinary Hospital joins us this morning, talking about what plants cat owners should be cautious about when planting gardens/buying flowers this spring.

He says not all lilies are toxic but it is just safer to assume they are.  Some non-toxic lilies include the Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies but they  can cause minor signs such as tissue irritation to the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and esophagus.

The more dangerous, potentially fatal lilies are true lilies such as the Tiger, Day, Easter and Japanese– all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions (such as 2-3 petals or leaves) – even the pollen or water from the vase – can result in severe, acute kidney failure.

Tulips and Gladiolas plants are somewhat toxic but the bulbs can be very toxic.  These can cause tissue irritation when consumed or handled.  Ingestion can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy.

Rhubarb stems are edible, but the leaves are toxic.

The green parts of the omato plant are a concern.  A large amount needs to be ingested to result in severe poisoning. Ingestion can cause severe gastrointestinal distress (e.g., vomiting, diarrhea), lethargy, weakness, and even confusion

Apple stems, leaves and seeds contain cyanide, particularly toxic in the process of wilting: brick red mucous membranes, dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, shock.

Leaks and onions can cause vomiting, breakdown of red blood cells, blood in urine, weakness, high heart rate, panting

The vines of potato and sweet potato can cause diarrhea and hallucinations

Besides plants other things associated with gardening can be even more problematic.  Compost piles can be very, very bad for your pets.  The breakdown of the organic material is accomplished by many different types of bacteria any or all of which can either be toxic or produce a toxin that could cause anything from a stomach ache to death.  Eustis strongly urges pet owners to put a fence around their compost piles.

Cocoa bean mulch can be severely toxic.   Mulch that smells and tastes like chocolate, how could they resist?  It's made from cocoa bean hulls, a by-product of the chocolate industry. Damaged cocoa beans, cocoa bean fines and other unnecessary plant parts are mixed in with the hulls and sold as mulch. It has the same toxicity as chocolate but depending on the mixture could actually be more toxic.  My advice, don't buy it and if you are in your yard and smell chocolate you need to investigate your neighbors garden.

The Vermont Veterinary Medical Association says with the spring holidays of Easter, Passover, and Mother's Day, lilies will be present in many homes. This summer, daylilies will grace many gardens. They are favorite flowers for their color, fragrance, and beauty.

However, what pet owners may not know is lilies are deadly to cats. This is especially pertinent as a recent American Veterinary Medical Association survey shows Vermont tops in the nation for cat ownership, with almost 50 percent of households having at least one cat.

All parts of the lily, including pollen, are toxic to cats and cause sudden severe kidney failure and death, if not treated promptly. Even cats with seemingly minor exposure such as biting a leaf or getting pollen on his or her whiskers or hair coat can be fatally poisoned. We don't know why cats are attracted to lilies, but cats of all ages are affected. It is especially tragic when young kittens, who like to chew on everything, are affected.

Signs of lily toxicity occur within 24-72 hours of exposure and include vomiting, depression, anorexia, and dehydration. Cats treated within 18 hours of exposure generally have a good prognosis. Even if exposure is not certain, the cat should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. Animal Poison control reports that the number of cases of feline toxicities by lilies increases each year. For more information, go to www.noliliesforcats.com.

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