by Justina Hurley

peace lily poison

A heads up for pet lovers, who might also happen to be potted plant lovers.

The Peace Lily is poisonous to cats and dogs. Please see the information below from petpoisonhelpline.com regarding Peace Lily poisoning symptoms.

I’ve just experienced this with my cat as he became very ill, very suddenly and seemed to be having intense oral and gastric pain. He was lethargic, unable to eat and very distressed.

A trip to the vet involved antibiotics, painkillers and a check of his teeth to see if he had some tooth related infection. As well as the obvious pain and distress, he wasn’t able to eat and had a temperature of 104.

As his kidney function was good, lily related poisoning wasn’t suspected. (Most lilies cause kidney and liver damage).

He recovered thankfully, but researching possible causes led me to the Peace Lily, which is actually not a true lily and doesn’t cause kidney and liver damage (thankfully). On checking the house we discovered that the new plant we had just added was a Peace Lily.

We are aware of the dangers of lilies to cats and, as this cat has a habit of chewing leaves of pot plants, we are very careful not to have lillies in the house. However, this one escaped notice because it isn’t actually a true lily and also it wasn’t in flower so didn’t raise the usual lily alarm bells!

See the picture below to see a Peace Lily in flower and not in flower.

peace lily cat

Symptoms and Signs of Peace Lily Poisoning

Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs

Level of toxicity: Generally mild to moderate

Common signs to watch for:

  • Drooling
  • Oral pain
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Inappetance

The peace lily, also known as the Mauna Loa plant, contain insoluble crystals of calcium oxalate that are in bundles called raphites. Chewing or biting into the plant releases the crystals which penetrate tissue resulting in injury. When dogs or cats ingest peace lilies, clinical signs may be seen immediately and include pawing at face (secondary to oral pain), drooling, foaming, and vomiting. Moderate to severe swelling of the lips, tongue, oral cavity, and upper airway may also be seen, making it difficult to breathe or swallow.

The peace lily does NOT result in acute kidney failure when ingested, and is different from more dangerous types of lilies that cause kidney failure (e.g., Easter, day, Asiatic, Japanese show, Tiger lilies).  (source: petpoisonhelpline.com)

Treatment

Veterinary advice is necessary, however milk neutralises the oxalate so try to get the cat to drink a little milk (preferably lactose free but if not possible ordinary milk). If the cat won’t or can’t drink, then use a syringe to get a little milk in the mouth and that will help to ease the discomfort.

Your vet will be able to advise further may give antihistamine, anti-inflammatory or pain relieving medication as well as a type of antacid for cats if the cat is having a lot of gastric pain.

In our cat’s case, it took about four days for him to be able to eat properly and a few days after that to get back to top form.