Toxic plants

Is Ambrosia Mexicana Toxic To Cats?

Is Ambrosia Mexicana Toxic to Cats
Written by Clair Chesterman

Ambrosia Mexicana or more commonly known as Jerusalem Oak and Feather Geranium contains cyanogenic glycosides, nitrates, and oxalates similar to several other Chenopodiaceae plant species. While these substances are not harmful in low quantities, ambrosia mexicana can become poisonous to the point of being lethal due to their capacity to acquire and store excess nutrients (particularly nitrate) in response to bad growing conditions or environmental stress. 

When a cat ingests ambrosia mexicana, the nitrate is converted to nitrite, which is absorbed into the bloodstream and reduces the feline’s ability to carry oxygen which will eventually lead to nitrate poisoning.

What is Ambrosia Mexicana Plant?

Scientifically known as Chenopodium botrys, ambrosia mexicana is a fragrant herb that looks perfect in arrangements and provides a great base for dried flower wreaths. This plant originated from the Mediterranean region and grows well in medium wet fertile soils in sunny locations.

Clinical Signs of Ambrosia Mexicana Plant Poisoning in Cats

Because nitrate causes tissue hypoxia and low blood pressure due to vasodilation, the symptoms of Ambrosia Mexicana Poisoning in cats often appear abruptly.

  • Mucus membranes range in hue from light pink to gray.
  • Tissue hypoxia
  • Ataxia
  • Weakness
  • Tremors in the muscles
  • Body temperature that is unusually low
  • Heartbeat is irregular.
  • Polyuria (frequent urination)
  • Anxiety
  • Respiratory distress
  • Dyspnea or difficulty breathing
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hypersalivation
  • Anorexia
  • Depression
  • Death

First Aid and Treatment of Ambrosia Mexicana Plant Poisoning in Cats

Veterinarians usually use Methylene blue to treat Ambrosia Mexicana poisoning. This will be administered by the vet intravenously. Methylene blue functions by converting ferric iron in hemoglobin or red blood cells to ferrous iron. The vet may use methylene blue and mineral oil together. Mineral oil, when used as a cathartic, can aid in faster defecation and removal of nitrate material from the feline’s gastrointestinal tract.

Recovery from Ambrosia Mexicana Poisoning in Cats

A cat has a good chance of surviving an ambrosia Mexicana poisoning if a diagnosis is made quickly and treatment is effective. However, if the clinical signs were not detected until the fatal chemicals of the ambrosia plant had been absorbed, the cat’s chances of full recovery are bleak.

Prevention

The best way to avoid nitrate toxicity in cats is to remove all Ambrosia Mexicana plants from your cat’s environment or confine the feline especially when you are not home. 

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

About the author

Clair Chesterman

Clair Chesterman is a professional cat breeder having her own cageless CFA and CCA Registered cattery & fostering company FluffyMeowPaws in Eugene, Oregon. Clair is a plant enthusiast too and she made in-depth research on toxic and non-toxic plants for cats.

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