Lovely Lilies – a case of ‘the full Monty’...
Gift gone wrong?
Following a very worrying but ultimately good news case I saw last week, I wanted to share a warning tale of ‘gift gone wrong’.
Monty is a lovely, if rather inquisitive cat – a very handsome silver spotted British Shorthair.
A relative of his owner felt Monty’s mum needed a little bit of cheering up and popped into Waitrose to buy a rather posh bunch of flowers. These lovely blooms were suitably displayed, but little did Monty’s owner realise the danger lurking within. Some of the flowers were lilies and whilst very beautiful these pose a significant risk to cats with the leaves and particularly the brown pollen being very toxic.
It is not known exactly what it is in the lily flower that makes it so toxic to cats but ingestion can trigger nausea, but even more importantly acute kidney failure.
In Monty’s case it was the sickness that saved him. His owner noticed him being sick and found several of the stamens (the central parts containing the pollen) in his vomit. She then noticed he had brown staining pollen all around his mouth and tail – it seems Monty had taken a real liking to this particular variety of lily.
Not sure if she should worry, his mum had the presence of mind to do a quick internet search. She was horrified to find how toxic they can be. A quick phone call to us at Hillside and a dash in the car and Monty arrived, looking a little sorry for himself.
The key here was the speed of action. After admitting him at the surgery, we were able to make sure his stomach was empty and start him on intensive fluid therapy (known as a drip) for forty-eight hours. Our nurses also had the delightful job of encouraging him to eat an amount of activated charcoal to avoid further absorption of the toxin (well done girls!). It was then a question of waiting.
Bloods tests at the time and subsequently have confirmed that Monty – after being given the ‘full monty’ – has made a full recovery with no long lasting damage to his kidney function.
A very lucky escape and also a very expensive bouquet of flowers! Oooops!
It does raise the question as to whether the flowers should have a warning attached. What do you think?
Lilies are widely sold but I have never seen a warning sticker attached. Perhaps we should start a Twitter or Facebook campaign?
Chris Devlin BVSc MRCVS
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