Toxic plants

Is Golden Ragwort Toxic To Cats?

Is Golden Ragwort Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Golden ragwort or simply known as ragwort is a perennial flowering plant that has been used by humans for medicinal purposes. Cats, on the other hand, should not consume this plant as it contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that may cause liver failure. 

Short-term poisoning may cause abrupt death due to liver damage and blood loss due to torn blood vessels. Because of their unpleasant taste, animals rarely consume considerable quantities of ragwort. Long-term exposure is more common, with the liver reflecting the cumulative and progressive effects of small doses of toxin consumed repeatedly.

What Is Golden Ragwort?

Golden ragwort or scientifically known as senecio aureus is endemic to North America. The sturdy, thick base offshoots of the golden ragwort creep horizontally and send up upright flowering stems one to three feet tall. Flowers are a deep golden-yellow color, daisy-like in appearance, and spectacular. The dark-green, heart-shaped basal leaves are purple beneath and dark-green above. The leaves on the stem are lobed while the roots colonize, and the plant eventually becomes a groundcover.

Clinical Signs of Golden Ragwort Poisoning in Cats

It is possible that your cat will acquire acute or chronic liver damage due to ragwort poisoning. It can take up to a week for the syndrome to fully appear. All signs to watch for are listed as follows:

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Muddy mucous membranes
  • Behavioral changes
  • Sunburn of hairless areas of the body
  • Body weakness
  • Ataxia
  • Liver damage

First Aid and Treatment of Golden Ragwort Poisoning in Cats

The vet will induce vomiting so that any lingering golden ragwort in your cat’s stomach can be expelled. Your cat will also receive activated charcoal treatment, which will allow any lingering toxins to adhere to the charcoal and be safely removed from its body. The veterinarian will treat the cat’s symptoms and do thorough disinfection. Stomach pumping or gastric lavage are examples of this.

If the symptoms of your cat are not caught early enough, this may lead to permanent liver damage. Treatment will be supportive because your cat will not be able to regain its prior level of health. The cat’s health will worsen over time, and the goal of care will be to keep it as comfortable as possible.

Recovery from Golden Ragwort Poisoning in Cats

After being poisoned by golden ragwort, your cat’s health will be chronically harmed. You’ll be able to take your cat home with you, but you’ll only be able to give it supportive care and make him or her comfortable.

Continue to keep an eye on your cat’s health, noting any signs of liver failure. Return to the vet for treatment if you see anything that indicates it’s becoming worse. If the poisoning’s consequences are extreme or the cat’s condition worsens, humane euthanasia may be considered.

Prevention of Golden Ragwort Poisoning in Cats

The best method to avoid poisoning in cats or other animals is to remove ragwort from the environment. It is advisable to use gloves and remove the plants by hand. You can also burn the plant once it’s been dug out. It’s possible that keeping your cat indoors will keep it from getting into contact with ragwort or other harmful 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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