Toxic plants

Is Staggerbush Toxic To Cats? 

by Clair Chesterman
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Is Staggerbush Toxic to Cats

The staggerbush plant is high in a chemical known as ‘grayanotoxin.’ This chemical is toxic to cats and produces unpleasant and potentially fatal adverse effects.

The grayanotoxin causes damage to the target organism by going through the cell membranes and depolarizing the cell, which means it can no longer transfer the electrical impulses that convey information across the nervous system. This basically implies that the brain can no longer manage the activities occurring in grayanotoxin-poisoned organs.

What Is Staggerbush?

Fetterbush, Maleberry, and Piedmont Staggerbush are other names for Staggerbush. Staggerbush is a coastal plains native plant that grows in damp sandy areas. In some northern states, it is categorized as endangered. Fetterbush grows in wetlands and damp or dry woodlands in filtered shade to full sun on moist to wet, sandy, or peaty soils. It is, nevertheless, tolerant of loamy garden soils with continuous moisture. It spreads by rhizomes. It is commonly used as a hedge in naturalized regions, or in moist locations.

Staggerbush, scientifically known as lyonia, is the name of a family of trees and shrubs endemic to North America and temperate Asia. Due to its comparatively poor blossoms, the staggerbush has not received much decorative cultivation by gardeners, implying that the plant has mostly stayed limited to its places of origin. Another reason for the staggerbush’s obscurity is its very high toxicity, which may cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms in a number of animals, including cats.

Clinical Signs of Staggerbush Poisoning in Cats

Clinical indicators of staggerbush toxicity in cats may include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Depression 
  • Excessive salivation
  • Weakness in limbs
  • Slowed heartbeat 
  • Low blood pressure. 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Congestive heart failure

If large amounts of staggerbush are consumed, more severe symptoms such as:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma 
  • Death

First Aid and Treatment of Staggerbush Poisoning in Cats

The veterinarian will begin fluid therapy with the cat to help increase urine production while also compensating for dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea. The veterinarian may also opt to provide activated charcoal to the cat to absorb any grayanotoxin that may have remained in the cat’s digestive system. If the cat’s heart rate has slowed to dangerous levels, a stimulant such as atropine or epinephrine may be given to maintain a healthy rhythm, although this is usually done for emergencies only.

Recovery from Staggerbush Poisoning in Cats

Staggerbush poisonings usually take some time to recover from, with most cats needing a few weeks to fully recover. It is critical for owners to limit their cats inside the house in order to preserve energy and provide lots of opportunities for relaxation.

Prevention of Staggerbush Poisoning in Cats

The best method to prevent your cat from getting poisoned is to keep your house cat-friendly and let them stay indoors. You can easily monitor your cat from inside your home and keeping them busy indoors will minimize the possibility of exposure to staggerbush or other toxic plants outside.

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

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