Lily Poisoning in Cats: What can be done?

We have recently had a death in the family. Someone sent a bunch of flowers with lilies while I was out at work and a family member who took the delivery didn't realize how deadly poisonous lilies are to cats. My big ginger male ate the ends of some leaves and bit the flower sometime during the day. It happened after 12PM and before 6PM but we are not sure when.

As soon as we got home we saw what had happened and we rushed him immediately to the vet with the flowers. They began treatment for the poisoning. Our vets are excellent and put him on intensive IV treatment with fluids as well as monitoring him with 24 hour care for 2 and a half days. We are continuing to monitor him at home now with follow up appointments on Monday this coming week.

The vet is hopeful because his blood tests came back with excellent results though when she ran a urine test, our cat's test came back with the results that it was very diluted. The vet said this could be because he had been on so many fluids and that perhaps in the next few days at home that might become more concentrated to show us the kidneys are working. We are going to collect another sample this weekend to try to get further information/results.

Is there anything else that we can do to help our boy at this stage or do we just have to wait to see if that dilution was because he was on an IV with a lot of fluid?

We are extremely concerned and very attached to our boy so any advice or recommendations for this situation would be appreciated. He's a loved member of the family so to say we are worried and scared would be an understatement.

To anyone else reading this question:
We hope that no one else has this happen, but encourage anyone who is a cat owner or knows cat owners to spread the information about lily poisoning, and please NEVER send lily flowers to people who own cats.

Many thanks for any information you can provide.


ANSWER:


Unfortunately, lilies can be very toxic to cats, especially for their kidneys. But fortunately, it sounds as though you did all the right things and have a great veterinarian that treated your cat quickly and efficiently.

The fact that your cat’s bloodwork was normal is absolutely wonderful and generally a good sign. In terms of your cat’s urinalysis results, it is possible that IV fluids would cause a more dilute urine, and you will not know for certain until the urinalysis is repeated.

It is also possible, though, that there was damage to your cat’s kidneys that was bad enough to cause dilute urine or a low specific gravity. If cats develop kidney insufficiency, the first thing that goes is the specific gravity, which presents as dilute urine.

Unlike other causes of kidney failure or kidney disease in cats, there is a possibility that, if there was damage to your cat’s kidneys, the quick, early treatment may have completely stopped the progression of the kidney disease, and your cat’s condition may not get worse for a very, very long time.

I sincerely hope you get better result from your cat’s follow-up urinalysis, but keep in mind that if your cat’s urine is not more concentrated, I have seen many cats live for many years with dilute urine, and am sure your veterinarian has as well. Although we can’t know the long term prognosis for certain, there are many ways to help control early kidney insufficiency. Feeding a canned food only diet, preferably with a prescription diet such as Royal Canin’s Renal LP, providing water fountains to encourage your cat to drink more, and bringing your kitty for regular checkups to stay on top of urine and blood values can help extend your cat’s life tremendously.

I am so sorry for your loss of a family member and that it has brought this additional crisis your way. I hope all has improved for your cat’s health, and if you would like to write back with an update, I would welcome hearing from you at any time. Thank you for writing in and sharing your story, as well, to help spread the knowledge about dangers of lily poisoning in cats.

All the best,
Dr. Neely

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