There are many common household products that can cause kidney failure in dogs or cats. The most common are antifreeze (ethylene glycol) in dogs and cats, grapes and raisins in dogs, and lilies in cats.
Lily toxicity is increasingly common during the Easter holiday season, and cat owners should be careful bringing these plants into the home. Some lilies such as the Peace, Peruvian, and Calla will not cause kidney failure, but rather cause local irritation in the mouth due to crystals in the plants themselves. If these plants are ingested you may note drooling, foaming, and potentially vomiting.
Some lilies are kidney toxic. These belong to the Lilium or Hemerocallisilium species and include the Easter, Tiger, and Day lilies, to name a few. It is important to note any part of the plant, including the pollen, can potentially induce acute kidney failure. Signs to look for with kidney failure include lethargy, vomiting, anorexia, dehydration, and lack of urine production.
If you see your cat has eaten a lily, you should take them and the plant to your veterinarian to help determine if the plant is toxic and to start therapy if there is a concern for kidney toxicity. Therapy will likely include several days of hospitalization with close monitoring of blood work to ensure kidney damage does not develop. If progressive kidney failure develops, very aggressive therapy such as hemodialysis (also referred to as dialysis which is a process through which the blood is purified) may be needed.
If you are uncertain if a lily, or any plant, is safe for your dog or cat, please contact your family veterinarian or find your nearest MedVet.
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