Busselton Vet Hospital Library

Lily Intoxication in Cats

Initial signs associated with lily intoxication include vomiting, inappetence, and lethargy due to irritation to the stomach.

yellow paws

Learn About Lily Intoxication in Cats

A common toxicity in cats is poisoning by chewing or eating ornamental lilies. There are lots of different types of lilies, but the types to be aware of are the tiger lily, easter lily and angel trumpet lily, which are all commonly found in flower arrangements or in gardens. All parts of the plant are poisonous, and only small amounts need to be ingested.

What symptoms does it cause?

Initial signs associated with Lily intoxication include vomiting, inappetence, and lethargy due to irritation to the stomach. Later signs include vomiting, weakness, lack of urination or increased urination, and a painful abdomen associated with swollen kidneys. Lily intoxication causes acute kidney failure, meaning their kidneys can no longer do their job of excreting the waste products of metabolism, which build up in the blood.

How is it treated?
Early intervention will involve decontamination of the stomach by inducing vomiting and giving activated charcoal to bind any toxin, which can prevent the development of kidney failure if implemented quickly. An intravenous catheter will be placed so the patient can be given fluid to flush the kidneys. If the cat has already developed acute kidney failure, then the treatment is to put the patient on a high rate of intravenous fluids, manage any electrolyte disturbances, manage nausea with appropriate medications, monitor urine output and monitor blood work.
How is it diagnosed?

A diagnosis of Lily intoxication often relies on history from the owner, as often many people don’t realise the significance of ingestion; the vet may need to specifically ask this question. A physical exam will reveal painful kidneys and often dehydration, in combination with blood work showing elevation in kidneys parameters and electrolyte imbalances, this will lead to the diagnosis of acute kidney failure secondary to Lily intoxication.

Will my pet be okay?

If effective decontamination is made and fluid therapy is started soon enough, prognosis can be very good. Once kidney failure develops, prognosis for a full recovery is guarded.