The Dangers of Lily Poisoning

Lily intoxication in cats can lead to permanent, irreversible kidney damage, resulting in death. Please be mindful of the dangers and keep your furbies safely away from Lilies!


Which parts of the Lily are dangerous?

All parts of the Lily are poisonous; this includes the leaves, flowers and stem.


What clinical signs are present? How severe can it progress?

  • Following ingestion of the Lily, cats typically experience salivation, nausea, appetite loss and dullness.
  • Subsequently they may begin to drink and urinate excessively, due to the onset of underlying kidney failure.
  • Within 24 to 48 hours of Lily toxin exposure, anuria (inability to urinate) may develop as kidney damage progresses.
  • Death may follow 3-7 days post toxin ingestion, due to permanent kidney failure.


What does diagnostics include?
Diagnosis is made based on

  • History of exposure to Lilies and the acute onset of clinical signs consistent with acute kidney failure secondary to Lily intoxication.
  • Biochemistry bloodwork typically shows and elevation in Urea (BUN) and Creatinine (CRE) indicative of kidney failure.
  • Ultrasound and X-ray examination may reveal structural inflammatory and degenerative changes to the kidney.


What treatment options are available?

Treatment options include:

  1. Gastrointestinal decontamination
  2. Vomiting may be induced to expel gastric contents and minimise toxin absorption for recent (within hours) Lily ingestion.

  3. Intravenous fluid therapy
  4. Fluid diuresis for 72 hours or more to rehydrate and support the failing kidneys is crucial.

  5. Peritoneal dialysis
  6. If available, peritoneal dialysis is an option to consider for cases with severe azotaemia (BUN & CRE elevation) or anuria.

  7. Symptomatic care
  8. Symptomatic Care has to be provided to alleviate the clinical symptoms associated with Lily toxicity such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, inappetance, seizures etc.


Steps to Prevention

Prevention is better than cure!

  • Avoid keeping toxic plants at home.
  • Reduce your cat’s motivation to eat houseplants / flora by providing other sources of stimulation to alleviate boredom. For example, toys, routine play times, cat nip etc.

If you suspect your cat has consumed any form of Lily, please seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.