ANIMAL MAGIC: A weekly column from Alder Veterinary Practice, of Spalding and Bourne
As I’m writing this, I am looking at nearly a foot of snow blanketing the garden and the temperature outside is a cool -4C, so it hard to believe that Mothering Sunday is just around the corner.
Florists all around the country are gearing up for one of their busiest weekends of the year and beautiful bouquets and pots of bulbs and flowers will be transported to our wonderful mothers. But for our pets, dangers lurk within these flowers, so here are the more common worries.
March is the month of the daffodil but as you will have seen on our Facebook posts recently, all parts of the daffodil are poisonous to dogs particularly the bulbs.
It’s unlikely that dogs will eat the flowers, but they may get hold of the bulbs and play with them. Symptoms include vomiting and abdominal pain, heart irregularities and blisters in the mouth.
Mild poisoning is possible if your pet drinks the water the cut flowers have been kept in. Treatment, though, is relatively straightforward, usually by emptying the stomach and treating with fluids in a drip.
As we all know, lilies are poisonous to cats. Some cats like to play and chew the flowers and stems, but most are poisoned by brushing against the bright orange pollen and eating it when grooming their fur.
Lily poisoning affects the kidneys and needs early aggressive treatment within 12-18 hours to prevent the kidneys becoming irreversibly damaged.
Hyacinthus plants are also poisonous and cause vomiting and retching. The bulbs can be covered in an irritant and gardeners are often asked to wear gloves when handling them. Dogs can have painful mouths if they carry them around.
The beautiful Peace Lily is in unrelated to the showy cut flower lily; but is also toxic to cats. If your cat decides to chew the leaves of the plant, the lily responds to damage by firing microscopic crystals at the danger, ie in your cat’s mouth. These lead to ulcers on the gums and can be very painful. Although easily treated, the crystals can be dangerous to cats with poor kidney function.
The majority of poisonings caused by flowers are treated successfully, but if your cat or dog has a tendency to investigate any new plant life brought in to the house it’s best to put the flowers somewhere safe.
And if you happen to get chocolates – well that’s another can of worms!
• Just a final thought. The salt used to melt the snow and ice can cause tummy upsets in your dog, so wash their paws when you come in for a walk to reduce the contamination.