Some spring flowers could be dangerous for pets

Watching out for toxins in some plants
Toxins in some plants could turn deadly for pets if not taken care of
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 6:07 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2023 at 6:31 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Even with the cooler air in place early this week, we are continuing to trend toward milder days as spring starts next week.

The returning spring warmth allows spring blooms to pop back up across the Ozarks. However, veterinarians like Dr. Philip Brown of the Animal Care Center in Springfield already see some cases of flowers making pets sick or ill.

“Pets can be drawn to the bulbs of plants,” Brown says. “Sometimes they do that because the plants have been put in with a mixture of fertilizers, and the aroma entices the dogs to come to them.”

While the bulb of the plants contains the most amount of toxins and pollen in a plant, the stem and the flower can also have a considerable amount of toxins for dogs and cats. Regarding toxins coming from particular plants, Brown quickly singled out lilies, daylilies, hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips as some of the culprits behind cases he had seen.

“The symptoms will range from wobbling to vomiting and diarrhea,” Brown says. “You can also end up seeing pets with liver problems and liver toxins. If they’re eating enough of the bulbs, sometimes they can damage and elevate the liver enzymes.” He also cited cats getting into the lilies and seeing kidney issues arise.

For pet owners, Brown and other veterinarians say there are important steps to make sure your pet gets taken care of if they eat a plant that’s toxic or non-toxic.

“We would ask that pet owners identify the plant and find out if it’s toxic or not or by calling the Pet Poison Helpline,” Brown says. “Secondly, watch the pet. Monitor its food and water and make sure it doesn’t start vomiting or having a loose stool. If they think that their cat or dog ate something bad, then we need to see it. You’ll want to get in as soon as possible.”

By identifying the plant, your veterinarian will determine if toxins got into your dog or cat and determine the best action. A complete list of toxic and safe cat and dog plants can be found here.

In terms of prevention, your pet can still enjoy time outside. Whether it’s your backyard or in the park, take a look and see what types of plants there are to determine if your pet can venture off leash in that area. If exercising with your pet, keep them on a leash or let them exercise in a fenced yard or dog park. If you love plants, your veterinarian can list safe plants for your garden or inside your home.

The most important thing to remember is don’t wait if you think you need to see the veterinarian. The sooner you bring the plant and your pet in for care, the faster and easier it will be to get treatment.

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