Springtime is garden time. Spring is when we plant new plants and get our yards ready to shine. While you are preparing your outdoor areas for your family to enjoy just make sure you take the steps to ensure that it is safe for your pets to enjoy as well.
“When planting your garden it is important to note that there are numerous house and garden plants which can be toxic to animals,” warns Dr. Murl Bailey, professor of toxicology at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Several that come to mind initially are brunfelsia, lilies, cycads, kolanchoe, and oleander.” Brunfelsia, more commonly known as the yesterday, today & tomorrow plant, causes convulsive seizures in dogs that resemble strychnine poisoning.
“We haven’t seen any problems in cats from brunfelsia, as of this date,” notes Bailey. “While this plant is mostly a house plant, it could be in sheltered gardens in the southern part of Texas.”
Cycads, low growing palm trees which are used both indoors and outdoors, are another type of plant that is toxic to dogs as they tend to chew on the roots. The cycad has a toxin in the root and stems that is toxic to the liver.
“When the liver is affected, the dog’s body stops producing the normal, endogenous clotting factors and the dogs start bleeding excessively — to the extent that they can bleed to death,” explains Bailey.
While brunfelsia and cycads may not be known to cause problems in cats, lilies are especially harmful to them. Once cats ingest lilies, they develop nausea and vomiting. Then they get depressed, and stop eating.
“Why cats like to eat them I don’t know, probably boredom, but once they do these cats must be treated by a veterinarian, preferably within 24 hours and not later than 48 hours,” states Bailey. “We do not know which toxin(s) are present in the lilies, but they are very toxic to the kidneys.”
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