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Keep Your Cat Safe – Lily Flower Toxicity in Cats





Emergency Vet Melbourne Cat Lily Flower Toxicity

With Mothers Day approaching this weekend, we thought it was important to write about Lily Flower Toxicity in Cats.

Lily flowers are toxic for cats and can cause death. Toxicities in pets are a common cause of vet emergency. Lily toxicity is seen most often during holidays and on special occasions such as Valentine’s day and Mother’s day when flower bouquets are given as gifts.

Rubrum lily Tiger Lily Easter Lily

Many lily species are toxic to felines and can include, but not limited to:
• Easter lily
• Tiger lilyR
• Rubrum lily
• Stargazer Lily
• Japanese show lily
• Red lily
• Western lily
• Wood lily
• Day lily

All parts of the plant are toxic and a small amount, even 1-2 leaves, can be lethal. Toxicity can cause kidney failure, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures.

If your cat potentially ingested lily’s prompt and early intervention often leads to a good prognosis, however once clinical signs develop and progress then it may be too late to reverse the damage done.

If you have any concern about your cat ingesting Lilies you should contacting your local vet or 24 hour pet hospital immediately as lily ingestion is an animal emergency.

Essendon Fields: (03) 9379 0700
Point Cook: (03) 8368 7400

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Marijuana Toxicity in Pets: The Green Stuff, the Dream Stuff

AAE Mara

The CARE your pet requires

Marijuana is one of the most commonly used recreational drugs worldwide and is also known by a variety of other names such as ‘weed’ and ‘pot’. Marijuana comes from the plant Cannabis sativa and the term ‘marijuana’ refers to the various parts of the plant such as the stems, leaves, seeds and flowers.

Apart from its use as a recreational drug, there is active ongoing research into the potential medicinal uses of marijuana for the management of conditions in humans such as chronic pain and multiple sclerosis. In fact, marijuana has already been approved for medical use in some places around the world. Unsurprisingly, the increased use of marijuana in humans has also resulted in an increasing number of animals being presented to veterinary clinics suffering from marijuana toxicity after accidental exposure to marijuana products.

This article will describe the common methods of intoxication and clinical signs seen in patients. We hope that readers will be able to better recognise early signs of intoxication and seek early medical intervention for their pets in the event of intoxication. If you believe your pet has ingested a drug, you need to contact our 24 hour vet Melbourne.

Commonly Encountered Forms of Marijuana

  • Unprocessed plant parts (leaves, stems, flowers, seeds)
  • Marijuana or hash cookies, brownies, candy
  • Marijuana (THC) in butter
  • Marijuana in cigarettes or ‘joints’
  • Marijuana in modified pipes or ‘bongs’

Why is marijuana toxic?

The major active component in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and can be found in varying levels throughout the different parts of the plant. Intoxication may occur via various means such as ingestion of a marijuana product (most common) and inhalation of toxic smoke. Once absorbed, THC is rapidly distributed around the body and exerts its toxic effects by binding to specific receptors within the brain and the rest of the body. While the effects of THC are yet to be fully determined, studies have found that clinical signs are related to the amount of marijuana ingested, and intoxicated animals often present with signs such as altered mentation or gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting.

  • Depression, tremors, coma
  • Ataxia (unstable gait/walk)
  • Disorientation/Hyperexcitability
  • Hypersalivation


Cardiovascular Signs

  • Bradycardia (Slow heart rate)
  • Tachycardia (Rapid heart rate)


Metabolic Changes

  • Hyperthermia (High body temperature)
  • Hypothermia (Low body temperature)


Gastrointestinal Signs

  • Vomiting


Making a diagnosis

A diagnosis can usually be made based on history provided by owners, known or witnessed ingestion of marijuana and suggestive clinical signs. However, in the event where there is no known exposure, a presumptive diagnosis can still be made based on clinical signs and resolution of clinical signs after treatment. However, a definitive diagnosis can be obtained from analysis of stomach content or urine of affected animal if required. Our pet hospitals stock urine identification tests that aid in the diagnosis.


There is currently no specific antidote for THC toxicity. Treatment consists of supportive care and symptomatic therapy. Most pets will need to be admitted to our veterinary hospital.

In cases that present acutely after ingestion, decontamination via the induction of emesis (vomiting) may be attempted if patients are still conscious and alert. In severe cases however, patients may present comatose and as such would require more aggressive measures such as gastric lavage (emptying) and enemas (manual emptying of rectal contents) to achieve rapid removal of marijuana from the body.

In addition, other supportive measures such as activated charcoal, muscle relaxants, ventilatory support (via the provision of oxygen), intravenous lipid administration and constant monitoring of the patient’s body temperature may also be required. Our Emergency Centres are open 24 hours / 7 days a week. Our intensive CARE units always have emergency vets on shift.


The prognosis for affected patients is generally optimistic. The majority of cases tend to recover within 5 days with no long-term adverse effects.

In severe cases however, recovery may be prolonged and complications such as death has been reported in cases of marijuana butter ingestion.

My pet has eaten marijuana! What should I do?

  • Stay calm and seek immediate veterinary attention for your pet
  • Give an honest history to your veterinarian, all details provided to us are kept strictly confidential
  • Do not attempt to induce vomiting or treatment at home
  • Making an unconscious animal vomit may cause it to aspirate the vomit and result in secondary aspiration pneumonia
  • Intoxicated animals can have an altered mentation and turn violent or aggressive without warning and cause serious injury to both itself and you
  • Attempting home treatment wastes valuable treatment time and prolongs the duration of your pet’s exposure to THC and increases the risk of potential complications



If you have any questions, please phone our emergency centres: Essendon 03 9379 0700 or Point Cook 8368 7400.

Our Centres are for Animal Referral and Emergency.

We are Always Open, We Always Care



  1. Meola SD, Tearney CC, Hass SA et al. Evaluation of trends in marijuana toxicosis in dogs living in a state with legalized medical marijuana: 125 dogs (2005-2010). JVECC 2012;22(6): 690-696.
  2. Fitzgerald KT, Bronstein AC, Newquist KL. Marijuana poisoning. Topics in Companion Animal Medicine 2013: 8-12.
  3. Osweiler GD, Hovda LR, Brulag AG et al. Marijuana. In: Osweiler GD, Hovda LR, Brutlag AG et al (eds). Blackwell’s Five-Minute veterinary Consult – Clinical Companion: Small Animal Toxicology. Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Iowa, 2011: 224-229.
  4. Volmer PA. Recreational Drugs. In: Peterson ME, Talcott PA (eds). Small Animal Toxicology. 2nd Edn. Elsevier Saunders, Missouri, 2006: 293-295.
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Avoiding Chocolate Toxicity During Easter

AnimalAE Easter Chocoate


Easter is just around the corner, which means that Melbourne households will soon be filling up with chocolate. While you should be cautious of chocolate around your pets at all times, Easter does pose an extra threat to dogs due the sheer volume of chocolate that is more readily available for them to snaffle while you’re not looking.

Chocolate toxicity is rarely fatal, but ingestion of chocolate in dogs does often lead to significant illness and so should be taken seriously by pet owners and treated as an animal emergency. As with all things, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so if you believe your dog has ingested any amount of chocolate you should immediately consult an emergency veterinarian and bring it in for examination at a 24 hour animal emergency centre.

Chocolate is dangerous to pets as it contains the alkaloid theobromine, which has similar effects as caffeine and is poisonous in large amounts. The toxicity level of the chocolate depends on the type and amount that is consumed, as well as the size of the dog. Toxic doses are generally considered to be 100mg of theobromine per kilogram of body weight, with fatal doses often occurring at over 200mg per kilogram.

Cooking/baking chocolate and dark chocolate pose the biggest danger, as they contain the largest concentration of theobromine. A 10kg dog would only have to eat 50 grams of milk chocolate to show clinical signs of chocolate toxicity or as little as 30 grams of dark chocolate. Whereas a mere 15 grams of baking chocolate (containing 70% cocoa) could lead to chocolate toxicity. Keep in mind that if the chocolate contains other harmful ingredients such as raisins/sultanas, alcohol or macadamia nuts then it may cause further complications.

The common clinical signs of chocolate poisoning are:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • increased thirst
  • panting or restlessness
  • excessive urination
  • muscle spasms and tremors
  • seizures
  • increased temperature
  • increased heart rate
  • abnormal behaviour

Older pets, or animals with pre-existing heart conditions, are more susceptible to the effects of chocolate poisoning and at higher risk of sudden death due to cardiac arrest.

During the Easter holidays, you need to be extra diligent in storing your Easter eggs safely out of reach of your pets. If you have children in the house, you also need to ensure that they don’t eat their chocolate around your pets, just in case they drop any or if you have a dog cheeky enough to swipe it straight from their hands while they’re not looking. You should also be cautious if you take your dog for a walk near a public park or school over the Easter long weekend, just in case an Easter egg hunt has taken place and any tasty surprises were left behind for your dog to find.

If your dog does need to be treated for chocolate toxicity, then the sooner they are brought in for examination, and the sooner the theobromine is removed from the body, then the better the prognosis will be. In some cases, if the dog is brought in early enough then all that may be necessary is using medication to induce vomiting to remove the chocolate from the stomach. For cases where the chocolate was ingested several hours earlier, the use of activated charcoal may be used to prevent the stomach and small intestine from further absorption of theobromine. As theobromine is excreted in urine, it is also common to use supportive treatments such as intravenous fluid theory to help dilute the toxin.

Close monitoring for the first 24 hours after poisoning is essential to check for any signs of irregular heart rhythm, so for the best and most advanced vet care available for your pet it is best to have them seen by our emergency vets in one of our 24 hour Animal Hospital.

In case of a chocolate toxicity or any emergency, please phone one of our 24hr Pet Hospital:

Essendon Fields (03) 9379 0700

Point Cook (03) 8368 7400



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