The Schefflera plant is poisonous from the roots to the leaves, while some Schefflera species only have poisons in the leaves. Calcium oxalate crystals are the poisonous principles present in Schefflera plants.
When a cat eats a schefflera plant, the idioblast cell is broken down by the cat’s saliva, allowing the raphides calcium crystals to exit the cell. Raphides erupt forcefully from the idioblast cell, penetrating the feline’s mouth and lodging themselves in the upper digestive system. Millions of tiny needles lodge themselves in the feline’s mouth, tongue, throat, and stomach, causing instant agony.
What Is Schefflera?
Schefflera is a flowering plant genus in the Araliaceae family, accounting for over half of the family’s 600–900 species. The plants are 4–20 meter tall trees, shrubs, or lianas with woody stems, no articulated pedicels or weaponry, and palmately compound leaves.
Several species, most notably Schefflera actinophylla (umbrella tree) and Schefflera arboricola, are cultivated in pots as houseplants (dwarf umbrella tree). Numerous cultivars have been chosen for diverse characteristics, the most common of which is variegated or purple leaves.
Clinical Signs of Schefflera Poisoning in Cats
The following are the primary symptoms of Schefflera poisoning, which can occur shortly after intake or up to two hours later:
- Oral inflammation
- Acute burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, and tongue
- Profuse drooling
- Swallowing problems
If the feline can withstand higher doses of the Schefflera plant, the following clinical signs may develop:
- Fast breathing or dyspnea
- Digestive problems such as vomiting and diarrhea
- Renal failure
First Aid and Treatment of Schefflera Poisoning in Cats
The veterinarian may prescribe vomiting medicine or give the feline an activated charcoal solution to bond with the deadly plant component, which will then be passed from the body in fecal form. To further remove the Schefflera toxin and reduce the progression of renal failure, your veterinarian will most likely begin your cat on IV fluids to refill lost fluids and help in the removal of the toxin.
Recovery from Schefflera Poisoning in Cats
The prognosis for severe Schefflera poisoning in cats is bleak since felines who survive frequently suffer from lifelong renal and liver damage. Only urgent veterinary care can provide a favourable prognosis.
For mild cases, cats usually recover within 24 to 48 hours after treatment.
Prevention of Schefflera Poisoning in Cats
While Schefflera is a nice addition to your indoor gardens, it is best to completely avoid growing this plant in your homes. Keeping your cats busy and mentally stimulated indoors will also minimize the risk of straying away far from your home and getting in contact with Schefflera or other poisonous plants.
If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists: