Andromeda Japonica or also known for its other names Japanese Andromeda, Pieris, Lily of the Valley Bush, and Bog Rosemary, is highly poisonous to most animals, including cats. Studies found that all parts of the Andromeda Japonica are poisonous, particularly the foliage, and contain grayanotoxins or also known as andromedotoxin. Grayanotoxin is a neurotoxin which targets sodium channels of the neurons that usually leads to overstimulation of the central nervous system.
Though this plant is not normally considered a threat to humans, the overall toxicity associated with it is not widely known.
What is Andromeda Japonica or Japanese Andromeda?
Scientifically known as pieris japonica from the Ericaceae family, is a flowering plant species found in mountain thickets in eastern China, Taiwan, and Japan. This medium-sized evergreen shrub or tree is commonly grown in gardens for its aesthetic value. Primarily grown for its dangling racemes of bell-shaped flowers, Andromeda japonica blooms in early spring.
Clinical Signs of Andromeda Japonica Poisoning in Cats
Poisoning symptoms appear after two minutes up to a few hours after ingestion of pieris japonica. Pieris contains a high concentration of chemicals known as grayanotoxins. These toxins are produced by some plants, including pieris, to deter potential predators by causing extremely unpleasant symptoms. Symptoms that you have to look out for in pieris japonica poisoning are:
- Lethargy or lack of energy
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of coordination
- Cardiac arrest
First Aid and Treatment of Andromeda Japonica Poisoning in Cats
The first thing to do in any plant poisoning is to remove any visible part of the toxic plant from your cat’s mouth. It is best to seek medical help from a veterinarian once clinical symptoms show. The vet may give IV fluids to your cat to help in flushing out remaining toxins from his or her system. It would also help to prevent dehydration of your cat. Administering active charcoal is also possible to absorb any remaining residue of toxins in your cat’s body. In rare cases of cardiac arrest, the vet may opt to use atropine as a last resort to ease the symptoms.
Recovery from Andromeda Japonica Poisoning in Cats
Cats usually take several weeks to recover from andromeda japonica poisoning particularly for cats who suffered from severe symptoms. Follow-up visits may be required by the vet as it is essential for him to be able to monitor your cat’s progress in recovery.
Once you have taken your cat home, you should make your cat comfortable and give them time to recover. Foods that are extremely rich or difficult to digest should be avoided as soon as possible after a big sickness, as this can be too stressful for the digestive system.
For safety, keep your cats confined inside your home. Keep them off from gardens and stray plants and bushes in your area. You may also try to build fences and put nets in the surrounding of your house as necessary. Always ensure that your cat has an adequate supply of food to maintain their good health condition.
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