The needle-like calcium oxalate crystals are the poisonous component of the sorrel plant. If the sorrel plant’s stem, leaves, or roots are digested, it can poison a cat. Chewing the sorrel plant releases the needle-like calcium oxalate crystals by breaking down the raphides. The crystals might remain in the cat’s throat and digestive tract for up to two weeks following intake.
What Is Sorrel?
Sorrels are hardy perennial plants of the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae) that are widely spread and farmed in temperate countries for their tasty leaves. Sorrel leaves are generally pungent and sour and receive their taste from oxalic acid. Mature leaves are eaten as a vegetable, used to flavor omelets and sauces, and are the main element in creamed sorrel soup.
Sorrel is a thin herbaceous perennial plant that grows to be approximately 60 cm tall, with deep-rooted roots, juicy stems, and arrow-shaped (sagittate) leaves. Lower leaves range in length from 7 to 15 cm, with long petioles and a membrane ocrea made up of united, sheathing stipules. It features whorled spikes of reddish-green blooms that bloom in early summer and become purple in color.
Clinical Signs of Sorrel Poisoning in Cats
Because the signs of sorrel poisoning are similar to those of other prevalent health disorders and plant poisonings, your veterinarian will need to perform a diagnostic differential. The following are symptoms of sorrel poisoning that cats may experience after eating the said plant:
- Gastrointestinal upset (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
- Rapid breathing
- Labored breathing
- Dark colored mucous membranes
- Muscle fasciculations (twitching)
- Heart arrhythmias
- Renal failure
First Aid and Treatment of Sorrel Poisoning in Cats
The key to a good prognosis is to start therapy before the renal organs shut down. 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.
Intravenous fluids may be given to the cat to help restore the feline’s hydration level particularly if he has been vomiting continuously. IV fluids will also help in flushing out the toxins from the cat’s body.
Recovery from Sorrel Poisoning in Cats
The prognosis of sorrel plant poisoning in cats is determined by how promptly veterinary medical assistance is sought. If the cat was taken to a veterinarian right away and treated before the seizures began, the animal’s prognosis is often favorable.
Prevention of Sorrel Poisoning in Cats
Cat owners should avoid growing sorrel in their yards. If it is known to be growing in your area, it is best to keep your cat indoors. Utilize cat houses and playpens to keep your cat entertained and occupied indoors. This will limit the possibility of cats wandering away and encountering toxic plants outside.
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