Toxic plants

Is Asparagus or Sprengeri Fern Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Asparagus or Sprengeri Fern Toxic To Cats?

The asparagus or sprengeri ferns trigger allergic dermatitis while consuming berries can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea for cats. Scientifically known as Asparagus densiflorus cv sprengeri, the asparagus or sprengeri fern contains saponins which operate as a deterrent to grazing animals. When consumed, saponins act as an irritant, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and mouth irritation. Once absorbed into the cat’s body, the toxin causes direct cell damage, resulting in dermatitis mentioned previously.

What Is An Asparagus or Sprengeri Fern?

Racemose Asparagus and a cat nearby

Asparagus Fern is also known for its other names Emerald Feather, Emerald Fern, Sprengeri Fern, Plumosa Fern, Lace Fern, Asparagus, Racemose Asparagus, and Shatavari. Also from the plant family of Liliaceae, these low-maintenance shrubs are native to South Africa.

The Asparagus fern is common to households and neighborhoods as it is a popular ornamental plant because it is easy to maintain and grow. It features tough, green aerial stems with few spines, oval-shaped leaves, and white to pinkish-white flowers that emerge in the spring. Small round green berries appear in summer which turns red in winter.

Clinical Signs of Asparagus or Sprengeri Fern Poisoning in Cats

Racemose Asparagus and cats

If your cat manifests any visible clinical symptoms of asparagus or sprengeri fern poisoning, seek immediate medical assistance from a veterinarian. Veterinary care is essential to provide proper treatment to your cat.

Visible symptoms of asparagus or sprengeri fern poisoning are:

First Aid and Treatment of Asparagus or Sprengeri Fern Poisoning in Cats

Racemose Asparagus with a cat in the background

After conducting physical examinations, the veterinarian may also conduct several laboratory tests like blood tests and ultrasound as necessary. Once properly diagnosed, the veterinarian will most likely give IV fluids to your cat which will aid in eliminating the toxins from your cat’s system and also replenish the number of fluids he or she lost due to vomiting. The fluid therapy will also provide quick symptomatic relief of dermatitis. Administering activated charcoal may also be done by the vet depending on your cat’s condition.

Recovery from Asparagus or Sprengeri Fern Poisoning in Cats

Sapogenin poisoning caused by ingestion of asparagus or sprengeri fern, usually has no long-term consequences due to its primary role as an irritant. This means that most cats will recover quickly after receiving treatment. Ensure your cat is comfortable at home to regain strength and fully recover swiftly.

Prevention of Asparagus or Sprengeri Fern in Cats

Removing asparagus or sprengeri fern around your house is necessary. If these toxic plants are widely grown in your area, it is best to keep your cats indoors or never let them go outdoors unsupervised. You may also try building fences and placing safety nets around your house. Keep yourself informed by familiarizing the toxic and non-toxic plants for cats.

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

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