Toxic plants

Is Umbrella Leaf Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Umbrella Leaf Toxic To Cats

Cats are poisoned by the umbrella leaf. This ground cover plant is also known as the Indian Apple, American Mandrake, or Mayapple. The toxin podophyllotoxin, a glycoside, is found in this plant and is quickly absorbed into the tissue. When cats swallow or come into contact with umbrella leaf, they can have gastrointestinal (vomiting, diarrhea, drooling) and cutaneous irritation.

What is Umbrella Leaf?

Umbrella Leaf with a cat in the background

Umbrella leaf (Podophyllum peltatum) is a perennial herb with a single branch. It flourishes in rich woodlands, fields, and pastures in forests and natural places. Native Americans used the roots to relieve stress. They remain closed as the stem grows longer, unfolding 6-8 inches across when the plant reaches its full height of 1-1 1/2 feet. The solitary, nodding, white to rose-colored flower has 6-9 waxy white petals and many stamens and grows in the axil of the leaves. A huge, juicy, lemon-shaped berry is the nodding fruit.

Clinical Signs of Umbrella Leaf Poisoning in Cats

Umbrella Leaf and cats

The umbrella leaf contains podophyllotoxin, a glycoside that is quickly absorbed by tissue and causes a variety of side effects. Toxicity symptoms include:

  • Gastrointestinal upset (vomiting & diarrhea)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Colic
  • Hypersalivation (excessive drooling),
  • Panting
  • Swelling of the muzzle (intermandibular area, eyelids)
  • Ulcerative dermatitis,
  • Hyperactivity
  • Lethargy
  • Coma (rare)

First Aid and Treatment of Umbrella Leaf Poisoning in Cats

Cat sits near Umbrella Leaf

Avoid your cat from eating more of this plant and consult a veterinarian Aside from an allergic reaction, a moderate amount of the plant intake by a cat is unlikely to result in major effects. Furthermore, due to the plant’s irritating characteristics, it’s highly improbable that a cat would consume enough of it or on a regular enough frequency to do major harm. As a result, a cat’s symptoms from eating or attempting to consume the plant are likely to be minimal oral irritation/inflammation and/or gastrointestinal upset (minor vomiting, diarrhea). In terms of a precise treatment plan, symptomatic care would most likely suffice.

Thoroughly wash the mouth immediately to remove all existing plant matter. If vomiting does not happen, an emetic may be used to force it. If your cat has ingested this plant and is experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort, make sure he gets lots of fluids to avoid dehydration. Kapectolin can be given at a dose rate of 1 to 2 ml/kg four times per day to relieve gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea.Sucralfate is also used to treat gastrointestinal irritation. 0.25g Sucralfate is usually administered every 8 to 12 hours to relieve stomach and intestine irritation.

Recovery from Umbrella Leaf Poisoning in Cats

Your cat stands a strong chance of recovering from umbrella leaf poisoning. He should recover once he starts medication, but the veterinarian will need to keep an eye on him to make sure he’s doing well.

The veterinarian will offer you information on how to care for your cat once you’ve returned home with him. If his gastrointestinal tract was affected by the toxins, these guidelines may include a particular diet. In a few days, the veterinarian will want to see him again to assess his progress. He might also do a blood test or a urinalysis to be sure he’s getting better.

Prevention of Umbrella Leaf Poisoning in Cats

Remove any Umbrella Leaf that may be growing within your yards or cage the plants using wire shelving units. Reduce your cat’s outside access to prevent his exposure to this plant and other potentially hazardous plants in your area.

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

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