Toxic plants

Is Texas Umbrella Tree Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Texas Umbrella Tree Toxic to Cats

Every part of Texas umbrella tree has meliatoxins also known as tetranortriterpenes. When cats swallow these poisons, they can experience gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea, excessive drooling, paralysis, and seizures. The berries are the most harmful because they have the maximum concentration.

What is a Texas Umbrella Tree?

Cat hisses at Texas Umbrella Tree

The Texas umbrella tree (Melia azedarach) is a multi-stemmed tree with an umbrella-shaped crown. At maturity, it will reach a height of 20′ to 25′. It is regarded as an adaptive and weedy tree, with the potential to grow over enormous areas. The flowers are fragrant in the evening, but because of the dense foliage, the blooms are difficult to see. This tree, which is native to Persia and Southeast Asia, favors moist, rich, well-drained soils and has spread throughout central and east Texas, particularly near riverbanks and streams.  It is also known as the China ball tree, paradise tree, Persian lilac, white cedar, or chinaberry tree.

Clinical Signs of Texas Umbrella Tree Poisoning in Cats

Texas Umbrella Tree and cats

In most cases, cats show symptoms of Texas umbrella tree poisoning immediately after they come in contact with it, while others take several hours to show the signs. Here are the most common symptoms of Texas umbrella poisoning:

First Aid and Treatment of Texas Umbrella Tree Poisoning in Cats

Texas Umbrella Tree and a cat nearby

After a diagnosis, treatment will begin immediately. Any plant material left in your cat’s stomach will need to be removed by inducing vomiting, which the vet will do. A 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution is taken orally to accomplish this. After the vomiting stops, the vet will give your cat activated charcoal to absorb any lingering toxins before they reach the bloodstream. Finally, the veterinarian can do a gastric lavage, which is the medical word for a stomach wash, to clear the stomach cavity. 

If all plant debris has been removed from the stomach cavity, the veterinarian can inject Kapectolin or sucralfate, which cover the stomach lining and prevent additional discomfort.

Seizure is a common symptom of Texas umbrella tree poisoning. If your cat is already having seizures, your veterinarian will need to give him or her anticonvulsant medication.

Throughout the treatment, the vet will closely monitor your cat’s health condition because frequent vomiting and diarrhea can lead to extreme dehydration. If that’s the case, the vet will give him fluids through an IV to help him recover.

Recovery from Texas Umbrella Tree Poisoning in Cats

The majority of cats that have been poisoned by Texas umbrella trees will recover completely within a few hours of treatment. However, if you do not treat your cat immediately, he may develop major health problems that will make recovery more difficult.

The majority of cats will be released after treatment. If the cat has a health problem, such as dehydration or seizures, he may need to stay at the clinic for more observation until he is stable enough to go home. Before you bring your cat home, talk to your vet about nutritional recommendations. Because the cat’s stomach may still be sensitive after treatment, some veterinarians recommend switching to soft foods in the days after treatment.

Prevention of Texas Umbrella Tree Poisoning in Cats

You must avoid your cat from further contact with the Texas umbrella tree. If you can, remove this tree from your yard. If you suspect one of your neighbors has it, keep your cat indoors as much as possible.

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

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