Toxic plants

Is Desert Azalea or Desert Rose Toxic To Cats?

Is Desert Azalea or Desert Rose Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Desert Azalea, also known as Desert Rose, Mock Azalea, Sabi Star, Impala Lily, and Kudu Lily, is a flowering plant that is harmful to cats as it contains cardiac glycosides.

The glycosides in desert azaleas, bind directly to the victim’s cell membranes and prevent them from metabolizing numerous chemicals. This causes ‘depolarization,’ in which the cell’s electric charge shifts from positive to negative, affecting its ability to operate correctly and interact with neighboring cells. The start of heart palpitations is the most immediate and visible effect of this shift. If enough glycoside is consumed, cardiac arrest and death might occur.

What Is Desert Azalea or Desert Rose?

Desert Azalea, scientifically known as adenium obesum, is a succulent plant native to the arid desert regions of Africa, Asia, and Tanzania. This plant from the Apocynaceae family is commonly used as a houseplant due to its gorgeous flowers and appealing tree-like look. The bulbous, frequently twisted base is distinguished by thick succulent gray-green spreading stalks with scant leaves. Throughout the summer, bell-shaped flowers range in hue from red to pink while their leaves are green to variegated in hue.

Clinical Signs of Desert Azalea or Desert Rose Poisoning in Cats

Due to the fast onset of symptoms, desert azalea might be particularly harmful. As a result, it’s critical to get an affected animal medical help as quickly as feasible.

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Anorexia
  • Depression
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Death

First Aid and Treatment of Desert Azalea or Desert Rose Poisoning in Cats

Antiarrhythmic medicines may be used in the treatment of desert azalea poisoning to help the cat’s heart rate settle and avoid heart failure. Fluids can be given intravenously to replace those lost due to diarrhea or vomiting. Activated charcoal can also be taken orally to prevent poisons from being absorbed further through the digestive system. If the poisoning is discovered early enough, the vet may decide to pump the contents of the cat’s stomach to prevent the poison from being digested in its entirety.

Recovery from Desert Azalea or Desert Rose Poisoning in Cats

The length of recuperation varies, but most cats should anticipate returning to normal in two to three weeks. Poisoning from desert azalea can be exhausting, therefore owners should limit their cat’s movements for a while to allow them to recover. It may also be important to offer them bland or even liquid food to allow their stomachs to heal from the ordeal.

Prevention of Desert Azalea or Desert Rose Poisoning in Cats

Make sure that there are no desert azaleas growing in your yards. If you are a plant enthusiast, it is better to research cat-friendly plants and grasses that your cat can nibble on. Limit your cat’s access outdoors to lessen his or her risk of exposure to poisonous plants.

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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