toxic plants

In 2013, more than 9,000 calls to the Pet Poison hotline were made for toxic plants.

Learn about the top 10 toxic plants your pet might encounter, especially in central Texas.

A multitude of common household and garden plants can results in toxicity of our family pets. It is important to ensure that the plants in and around your home will not result in toxicity to your beloved pet.

The following list provides 10 common plants that require emergency veterinary care for cats and dogs:

  1.  Sago Palm: All parts of the sago palm plant are considered toxic to both dogs and cats. Sago palm toxicosis results in vomiting, diarrhea, liver failure and possibly death. Aggressive supportive care is required. Check out this video, featuring AVES for more information on Sago Palm toxicity.
  2.  Marijuana: All parts of the marijuana plant or marijuana products are toxic to both dogs and cats. Marijuana toxicity can result in lethargy, dilated pupils, uncoordinated walking, dribbling urine, and at high doses can results in seizures or death. Supportive care is required.
  3. Grapes or raisins: Both grapes and raisins are considered toxic to dogs. The toxic dose is unknown therefore any ingestion is a concern. Ingestion of both grapes and raisins can results in kidney failure therefore intestinal decontamination and supportive care is required.
  4.  Lilies: All portions of the ornamental lily are considered toxic to cats. Lily toxicosis results in vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney failure therefore intestinal decontamination and supportive care is required.
  5. Onion/Garlic: Cats are more susceptible to toxicity from ingestion of onion/garlic compared to dogs. Ingestion of onions/garlic can results in destruction of red blood cells leading to lethargy, difficulty breathing, elevated heart rate, and discoloration of the urine. Depending on the severity of toxicity, some pets will require a blood transfusion until all toxins are eliminated from the body.
  6. Mushrooms: Various species of wild mushrooms can results in intestinal symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea), neurologic symptoms, kidney failure and liver failure in both dogs and cats. Treatment is focused on intestinal decontamination and supportive care.
  7. Oleander: Oleander leave ingestion can result in severe side effects to the heart results in a very low heart rate, weakness, and with significant ingestion can be fatal. Intestinal decontamination and supportive care is recommended.
  8.  Ivy: Common household ivy plants can results in intestinal symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea) in cats and dogs. Rarely leads to severe symptoms.
  9. Poinsettia: This common holiday plant can result in mild toxicity including skin irritation (redness and itchiness) and intestinal symptoms (vomiting and diarrhea). Skin decontamination with Dawn dish detergent and intestinal supportive care is recommended. Rarely leads to severe symptoms.
  10. Mountain Laurel: This beautiful flowering plant can be quite toxic to both dogs and cats. The toxin associated with this plan results in abnormal functioning of muscles and nerves. Common symptoms include lethargy, drooling, uncoordinated walking, and a decreased heart rate. Symptoms can be progressive and severe therefore supportive care is required.

To research the plants in your home, please visit the ASPCA.org resource on toxic plants.

For 10 lovely house plants that are safe for your pet, read more here.

Lindsay Vaughn

Lindsay Vaughn

Medical Director (Emergency & Critical Care) at Austin Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center
Dr. Vaughn is dedicated to caring for patients that require both emergency care and intensive medical care. She also enjoys giving back to the veterinary community by providing educational seminars.
Lindsay Vaughn

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