Common Plant Questions and Answers

Some cats like to nibble on houseplants. Find out what to do if your pet eats a poisonous plant.

Posted: Fri Jan 17 00:00:00 PST 2003

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4. What are some other potentially poisonous plants for pets, including plants that can cause cardiac arrest?
Cardiotoxic plants:
Convallaria majalis - Lily of the Valley
Nerium oleander - Oleander
Rhododendron species - Rhododendron, azalea, rosebay
Taxus species - American, Japanese, English, and Western Yew
Digitalis purpurea - Foxglove
Kalanchoe spp. - Kalanchoe
Kalmia species - Mountain laurel, lambkill, calico bush
Leucothoe species - Dog hobble, dog laurel, fetter bush
Lyonia species - Fetter bush, male berry, stagger bush)
Pernettya species
Pieris spp. - Fetterbush, lily-of-the-valley bush

Plants that could cause kidney failure:
Certain species of lilies in cats only
Rhubarb (Rheum species) - leaves only

Plants that could cause liver failure:
Cycads (Cycad species)
Amanita phalloides - mushrooms

Plants that can cause multiple effects:
Autumn Crocus (Colchicum species) - can cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea, shock, kidney failure, liver failure and bone marrow suppression.
Castor Bean (Ricinus species)
- Usually a lag period of 48 hours before signs appear.
- Beans are highly toxic. Two to four beans can be lethal to adult humans.
- Severe gastroenteritis, oral pain and irritation, increased thirst, kidney failure, convulsions and death.

ALWAYS assume that any ingested mushroom is highly toxic until a mycologist identifies that mushroom. Toxic and nontoxic mushrooms can grow in the same area.

5. What are some myths people have about poisonous plants?
Poinsettias are generally overrated in toxicity. If ingested, poinsettias can cause mild gastric upset. Vomiting and nausea are the most commonly seen clinical signs. The effects are typically self-limiting and seldom severe enough to require veterinary care.

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Reader Comments

janet    bethlehem, PA

5/6/2009 5:53:30 AM

good article thanks

Angela    Hamburg, NY

10/2/2007 7:56:32 PM

This was vetu informative. I have to check my plants to make sure kitty wont get sick.

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