Toxic plants

Is Leek or Elephant Garlic Toxic To Cats?

Is Leek or Elephant Garlic Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Leeks are commonly used by humans in cooking; however, while it is edible for us, leeks are considered poisonous for cats. The majority of poisonings are caused by cats eating leeks growing in the family garden or inside the house. Leeks can also be ingested by the cat via sampled cooked dishes. The toxic principle that can be found in leeks is n-propyl disulfide, and it causes oxidative or burning damage to your cat’s hemoglobin in the red blood cells. As a result, your cat’s blood cells become increasingly unable to transfer oxygen from its lungs throughout its body, perhaps leading to oxygen deficiency or hemolytic anemia.

What Is Leek or Elephant Garlic?

Leek, scientifically known as allium ampeloprasum, is a well-known vegetable. The plant’s edible section is a bundle of leaf sheaths that sometimes can be mistaken for the plant’s stem or stalk. Leeks have a slight onion flavor. The vegetable is crisp and sturdy when it is uncooked. The white base of the leaves, the light green parts, and to a lesser extent the dark green parts of the leaves are all edible components of the leek. Because of its harsh texture, the dark green section is normally discarded, but it can be sautéed or added to stock for taste.

Leek, like onions, garlic, chives, shallots, and scallions, belongs to the allium family. Elephant garlic, kurrat, and Persian leek are just some of the cultivars of leeks. This ancient crop, which originated in the Mediterranean region, is today grown all over the world.

Clinical Signs of Leek or Elephant Garlic Poisoning in Cats

Your cat will not show signs of illness immediately after consuming leeks.  Instead, symptoms may appear later, making it more difficult to figure out what is making your cat sick. One obvious clue of what’s making your cat ill is the scent of onions or garlic in his or her vomit or excrement. Other signs of leek poisoning in cats may include:

  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Tachypnea or rapid breathing
  • Dyspnea or shortness of breath
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Tachycardia or irregular heartbeat
  • Cyanosis or bluish mucous membranes or skin from lack of oxygen
  • Discoloration in urine
  • Hemoglobinuria
  • Depression
  • Jaundice

First Aid and Treatment of Leek or Elephant Garlic Poisoning in Cats

When your cat shows indications of plant poisoning, it is indeed critical to take him to the veterinary clinic. The cat will be closely monitored by the veterinarian to ensure that no signs of anemia develop.

To relieve your cat’s symptoms, your veterinarian may prescribe activated charcoal, intravenous hydration therapy, and other drugs. Vitamin C may also be required to lower methemoglobin levels in your cat’s body. Supplemental oxygen therapy may be provided to your cat if necessary until his blood cells are restored and he can carry oxygen to all parts of his body.

Recovery from Leek or Elephant Garlic Poisoning in Cats

The danger of anemia for your cat is substantial because of the potential lag time between consumption of leeks and the onset of symptoms. Your cat can avoid anemia by starting medication before its red blood cells start to break down. If your cat received fast and appropriate medical care, he or she will recover completely.

Prevention of Leek or Elephant Garlic Poisoning in Cats

Keep your cat away from leeks and other members of the allium family of plants. Because your food may include leeks or other potentially hazardous chemicals, avoid leaving it unattended. Despite the fact that leeks are highly poisonous to cats, they are attracted to their smell, and there is a high risk that your cat will eat enough of them to become poisoned.

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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