Toxic plants

Is Foxglove Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Foxglove Toxic To Cats?

Foxglove is an herbaceous plant that is popular for its pretty blooms. While it can be attractive, it is not recommended to grow in households with cats as it contains cardiac glycosides. These substances are poisonous to cats as it interferes with the electrolyte balance of the heart muscles. Ingestion of the foxglove plant may cause vomiting, diarrhea, and cardiac arrhythmias among other clinical signs of poisoning in cats. 

What Is Foxglove?

Cat stands near foxglove

Foxglove or scientifically known as digitalis purpurea is a one to two-meter tall herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial. It was once only found in Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa, but it is now spread all over the world. The plant is well-known for its lovely tubular hanging flowers, which come in a variety of colors 

including pink, purple, yellow, and white.

Gardeners have long incorporated tall and majestic foxglove plants in situations where vertical interest and gorgeous flowers are sought. Depending on the kind, foxglove blossoms can grow up to two meters tall. Foxglove flowers come in a variety of colors, including white, lavender, yellow, pink, red, and purple tubular blooms.

Clinical Signs of Foxglove Poisoning in Cats

Foxglove and cats

All parts of the foxglove plant are toxic to cats. It is highly advisable to consult a veterinarian immediately in case of foxglove ingestion to address the symptoms as early as possible. Your cat may experience the following signs if he or she has eaten a part of the foxglove plant:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Tremors

First Aid and Treatment of Foxglove Poisoning in Cats

Foxglove with a cat sitting in the background

The veterinarian will conduct complete physical examination and several laboratory tests such as a complete blood count, urinalysis, and biochemical profile to examine your cat’s overall health and kidney function. He may also monitor your cat’s heart rate by using an electrocardiogram and echocardiogram.

Managing symptoms will be also done which may include performing gastric lavage, administering activated charcoal and intravenous fluid therapy. The veterinarian may also prescribe medications as it may deem necessary in your cat’s condition.

Recovery from Foxglove Poisoning in Cats

If you were able to take your cat to the veterinary clinic promptly, he or she has a high chance of survival. Cats with mild cases of poisoning usually take 24 to 48 hours to fully recuperate. Make sure to talk to the veterinarian if there is supportive care that you need to give at home once your cat has been allowed to go home.

Prevention of Foxglove Poisoning in Cats

Foxgloves are common in gardens and yards and even if you remove them from your own garden, there is still a possibility of exposure to foxglove if your cat likes going outside. Limit your cat’s access outdoors to prevent this. It would also help if you can choose non-toxic plants instead for your home.

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

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