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ASG Specialties:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Patella Luxation
  • Medial Patella Luxation
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Fragmented Coronoid Process
  • OCD Osteochondritis Dissecans Fractures
  • Arthritis
  • Ruptured Cruciate Ligament
  • Ruptured Cranial Cruciate Ligament
  • Ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament

Lily Toxicity in Cats

Lily Toxicity

Not only are the flowers and leaves of lily plants toxic, but the entire plant such as the pollen, when ingested, can harm the cat.[1]

By Adora Min, DVM

As emergency veterinarians, we see a variety of urgent cases and poisoning is something that cannot wait. If a pet is known or suspected to have been poisoned, they should be seen by a veterinarian immediately, since the time frame for decontamination can be very narrow. In many cases, prognosis is better if treatment is started sooner.

Lilies, or plants in the lily family Lilium and Hemerocallis, can cause renal injury in cats, even with a very small dose – one or two leaves or flower petals can cause death.

Clinical signs:

Cats can show clinical signs in several minutes to hours after ingestion. The most common signs are vomiting, salivation, lethargy and decreased appetite. If left untreated, cats may stop producing urine due to kidneys shutting down and death follows. [2]


Most of the time, owners will bring the cat in because they saw the cat chewing on lilies or notices the cat vomiting after ingestion. There is no specific test available for lily toxicosis, like most other toxicities. Diagnosis is largely based on history, physical examination and bloodwork. History of having lilies in the environment arise high suspicion of toxicity, when put together with a patient exhibiting clinical signs of acute renal injury, salivation and lethargy.


Immediate decontamination with induced vomiting, activated charcoal therapy and aggressive diuresis with IV fluids is key to lily toxicity treatment. Patients need to be on IV fluids for at least 48 hours. Urinalysis, output and blood work should be monitored closely. [3]


Prognosis is good if treatment is initiated immediately. If the patient is not treated early enough and becomes anuric (unable to produce urine), prognosis becomes poor and the only treatment available is peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis, which is not available in most places.[1] The closest facility from ASG with dialysis available is UC Davis in San Diego.

Resources for Pet Owners

ASPCA poision control website is a great resource for pet owners. They also have a free app you can install on your smartphone or tablet.

Unopened 1L bag of fluid

REFERENCES: [1] Fitzgerald, KT. Lily toxicity in the cat. Top Companion Animal Med. 2010;25(4):213-7; [2] Rumbeiha, W. A comprehensive study of Easter lily poisoning in cats. J Vet Diagn Invest. 2004;16:527–541; [3] Volmer PA. Easter lily toxicosis in cats. Vet Med 1999;94:331

Animal Specialty Group

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