Toxic plants

Is Metallic Leaf Begonia Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Metallic Leaf Begonia Toxic To Cats? 

Metallic leaf begonia is a species of the begonia genus thus like its other plant relatives, it also contains large amounts of a substance known as oxalate. Once your cat ingested a part of this plant, these oxalate crystals embed themselves in various tissues causing them irritation and discomfort. These crystals can break down into oxalic acid which adds further discomfort to cats. If ingested in large quantities, the toxins may enter the cat’s bloodstream all the way to the liver. This is extremely dangerous as ingestion of oxalic acid can lead to severe adverse effects such as organ failure and even death.

What Is Metallic Leaf Begonia?

Metallic Leaf Begonia and a cat hissing at it

Scientifically known as begonia metallica, Metallic leaf begonia is a low-maintenance, dense, spherical houseplant endemic to Mexico and Central America. Its common name is derived from its striking, glossy green leaves, which have a metallic sheen. In shaded places, metallic leaf begonia can be grown in containers or massed in beds and borders. This herbaceous perennial is perfect for a woods, natural, or Asian-themed garden as a border.

Clinical Signs of Metallic Leaf Begonia Poisoning in Cats

Metallic Leaf Begonia and cats

Consumption of metallic leaf begonia may cause immediate irritation and discomfort in cats. Symptoms of metallic leaf poisoning are generally mild to moderate but require prompt and appropriate treatment to prevent the development of severe conditions.

  • Excessive drooling
  • Oral irritation 
  • Redness around the mouth 
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Swelling of the mouth and tongue
  • Vomiting 
  • Dehydration
  • Swallowing difficulties 
  • Loss of appetite

First Aid and Treatment of Metallic Leaf Begonia Poisoning in Cats

Metallic Leaf Begonia with a cat nearby

Intravenous fluid therapy, vomit induction, and the use of activated charcoal are common clinical treatments for plant poisoning in cats. In some cases, depending on the cat’s condition, a veterinarian may conduct gastric lavage. Anti-inflammatories will be also prescribed by the vet if the cat’s throat is swollen. This will reduce the edema and keep a clear airway. If your cat needs it, the veterinarian may prescribe further medications or perform other treatments.

Recovery from Metallic Leaf Begonia Poisoning in Cats

Symptoms of begonia poisoning are usually mild, and they go away in about 48 hours following treatment. Cats usually recover completely in two weeks or less, and follow-up visits to the veterinary office are rarely necessary. The doctor may recommend a prescription diet because it is gentler on the cat’s sensitive stomach and it also aids in clearing up the oxalate residues in the stomach.

Prevention of Metallic Leaf Begonia Poisoning in Cats

Ensure that your place does not have metallic leaf begonia. Avoid growing or bringing this plant into your home. Keeping your cat indoors is a must as this will reduce the chances of encountering a metallic leaf begonia and other toxic plants in the neighborhood.

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

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