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Ask a Vet: Easter lilies poisonous to pets
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Theoretically, warm weather is coming. I used to feel better about this theory, but I’m still willing to give it a chance.

Spring has sprung every year I’ve been around and surely it’s on the way. That means the arrival of Easter.

Regardless of your religious affiliation, spring is a time of year where the world renews itself. We get a chance to start again.

We have many cultural indications of this renewal: Baseball (my favorite), bunnies, eggs and even some plants.

Being an animal myself, I have a sort of skepticism about plants. Yes, they’re pretty to look at and I appreciate the oxygen, but some of them are downright trouble. Poison ivy, ragweed and cactus spines aside, this article is a seasonal warning about the danger of one particular beauty — the Easter lily.

The lily is present in many homes this time of year as decoration and celebration. But it’s a vile little thing. Sure, behind glass or in a picture, it’s lovely. But as your parents may have told you, it’s what’s inside that counts, especially for your kitty.

Inside lilies is a chemical that can cause the same problems we see with antifreeze ingestion. Antifreeze contains a substance that metabolizes to form an incredibly toxic compound and destroys kidney function. Dogs, cats and even humans have died from exposure. The Easter lily mainly affects cats, but can also affect other pets.

Kidney failure is a nasty way to go. Toxins build up, dehydration sets in, minerals can deposit in parts of the body where they don’t belong. It’s a biological horror movie.

Given that many cats have an affinity for gnawing on, if not outright eating houseplants, this makes the Easter lily a sneaky danger this time of year. So take pause when considering your decor.

Take steps to limit or eliminate the chance your pet ingests decorative plants.

And, of course, keep all candy and other goodies out of reach as well. The Monday after Easter is another big time of year for emergency visits due to diarrhea or vomiting. Don’t be a statistic.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at

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