Beware Cat Ingestion of Mistletoe

If eaten, the plant can cause medical problems in cats.

Posted: December 05, 2006, 5 a.m. EST

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Although standing under the mistletoe can result in a pleasant surprise for humans, the holiday plant is potentially toxic to cats.

If cats ingest large quantities of mistletoe, it can potentially produce gastrointestinal irritation, excessive thirst and urination, a drop in blood pressure and heart rate, seizures, coma and death.

However, most animal ingestions involve small quantities — not more than the amount found in a sprig or two of the parasitic plant — and typically result in mild stomach upset that resolves with little or no treatment, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center (APCC).

If you suspect that your cat or other pet has ingested mistletoe or another potentially toxic substance, contact your local veterinarian or call the APCC at (888) 426-4435 for free advice.

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