Yes, the European Cypress is poisonous to cats. The tree produces a toxin called cypressin, which can cause serious health problems if ingested.
Ingestion of cypressin can lead to vomiting, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate and even death if left untreated. As such, it is important that cats be kept away from European Cypress trees and any other vegetation in the Cupressaceae family (which includes juniper, cedar and arborvitae).
Here in this blog post, I’ll discuss further the dangers that European Cypress presents to cats, and how cat owners can protect their pets from its toxic effects.
I’ll also include tips on what to do if your cat ingests any of this poisonous plant. It is important to note that even if your cat isn’t directly coming into contact with a European Cypress tree, it is still possible for it to be exposed to cypressin, as it can be found in mulch and soil.
Why European Cypress is Poisonous to Cats?
European Cypress is a popular evergreen shrub in many gardens, but few people realize it can be poisonous to cats. On contact or ingestion, European Cypress can cause gastrointestinal issues for cats, leading to vomiting and other health issues. The plant contains alkaloids, which are toxic to cats and can cause neurological damage if ingested in large amounts.
In a study published in the journal Veterinary Medicine International, researchers looked into cases of cat poisoning related to European Cypress. They found that more than half of the known cases were due to ingestion of the plant. Symptoms included lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. In some cases, cats also experienced severe dehydration and depression due to the toxicity of the plant.
Other studies have found that eating as little as 1g of European Cypress can be enough to cause severe symptoms in cats. In two separate studies published by the Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery and the American Journal of Veterinary Research respectively, researchers looked into how much European Cypress was needed for an intoxication case in cats with an average weight of 3kgs or 6lbs. They concluded that even small doses could cause intoxication due to their high concentration of alkaloids.
Despite its toxicity, the European Cypress is still widely used as an ornamental shrub for landscaping purposes. Because many pet owners don’t know about its poisonous properties, they might not take steps to protect their pets from potential exposure or ingestion.
As such, it’s important for owners to be aware that this common shrub can be dangerous and take necessary steps such as fencing off areas with plants or keeping them out altogether if possible.
Diagnosis of European Cypress Poisoning in Cats
To diagnose European Cypress poisoning in cats make sure your cat ingests any part of the cypress tree. If your cat has been around European Cypress trees, it is important to look for signs that could be indicative of poisoning.
If you don’t know how much your cat has ingested, it’s best to look forward to a behavioral diagnosis. It’ll help you to know whether they have been exposed to a toxic substance.
1. Behavioral or Physical Diagnosis
After a cat has been exposed to a harmful substance, it may demonstrate particular behaviors or physical symptoms. These changes will become evident within the first 24 hours after exposure.
Symptoms of European Cypress Poisoning in Cats
The most common symptoms of European Cypress poisoning in cats include:
1. You will know if your pet is in pain and feels irritated by these cues: violent shaking of the head, excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, and barfing/vomiting.
2. Animals express their anxiety in both physical and vocal ways. Watch for excessive panting, restlessness, pacing or drooling from your pet. They may also make abnormal sounds that are hoarse or weak-sounding if they whine, meow or yelp.
3. If your pet is exhibiting signs of shock, they may also display dilated pupils, a rapid pulse and breathing rate.
4. Your pet might be unable to keep food down or have difficulty swallowing due to inflammation in the throat and mouth. They may also experience anorexia or loss of appetite.
2. Medical Diagnosis
Your veterinarian will begin by conducting a physical examination of your cat and obtaining a thorough history. This will include asking questions such as when the poisoning occurred and how much of it was ingested.
Your veterinarian may also conduct diagnostic tests, such as a complete blood count, biochemical profile, urinalysis and electrolyte panel.
To diagnose European cypress poisoning in cats, your veterinarian may also perform an abdominal ultrasound to check for any physical signs of the poison.
In some cases, they may use X-rays to check for any abnormalities in the organs, including the heart and lungs. Additionally, your veterinarian will take a blood or urine sample to check for the presence of toxins.
If your cat has been poisoned with European cypress, your veterinarian will likely administer treatments to help alleviate symptoms and speed up the recovery process.
These may include providing a supportive care plan, administering intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration, giving activated charcoal to bind and eliminate the toxins, and providing medication to reduce inflammation.
First Aid and Treatment for European Cypress Poisoning
If you suspect your pet has been poisoned, it is important to take them to the veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible. Until you can get them to the vet, there are some steps you can take at home for first aid treatment.
1. First Aid at Home
Here I’ll give some basic first-aid advice for European Cypress poisoning in cats:
• Make sure your pet is not in any immediate danger and move them away from the source of the toxin.
• If they have vomited, make sure to clean up the area so they will not re-ingest the toxins.
• Give your pet plenty of water to drink, as this will help flush out any remaining toxins from their system.
• Do not give your pet any food until they have been seen by a vet.
2. Veterinary Treatment
Here I’ll also try to give you an idea of what your vet may do to treat your cat if they become poisoned by European Cypress:
|Reduce inflammation, relieve pain
|Support respiratory system
|0.5-2 mg/ kg IV or IM
|Block histamine release and reduce GI symptoms
|Treat hematological changes
|Support cardiovascular system
|10-25 g/kg PO or NG
|Inhibit absorption of the toxin in the gastrointestinal tract
|As directed by a veterinarian
|Restore and maintain the intestinal mucosal barrier
N.B. I highly recommend seeking veterinary conselltion before administering any of these medications to your pet. Note that this article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.
Your vet will tailor these treatments based on the severity of your pet’s symptoms. They may also prescribe medication to help manage pain, reduce inflammation, and prevent further damage. In some cases, pets may need to be hospitalized for several days in order to receive the intensive care they require.
Supportive Care After Treatment
Once your pet has been treated for European Cypress poisoning, it is important to provide supportive care to help them recover. You can do this by making sure to provide a quiet, stress-free environment for your pet.
You should also feed them small meals of easily digestible food and make sure they get plenty of rest. If your pet is still having trouble eating or drinking, you can give them food and water through a syringe until they are able to do so on their own.
Recovery Stage for European Cypress Poisoning
The recovery stage for European Cypress poisoning can vary depending on the severity of your pet’s symptoms. In general, most pets will recover within a few days with supportive care and a few weeks if they require intensive medical treatment.
It is important to monitor your pet closely during their recovery, as there may be lingering effects such as weakness or anxiety. If you notice any of these signs, talk to your vet about ways to manage them. With proper treatment and care, your pet should make a full recovery from European Cypress poisoning.
How to Prevent European Cypress Poisoning in Cats?
Now that you know the symptoms and treatment of European Cypress poisoning, it is important to take steps to prevent it from happening.
1. Keep Cats Away from Plants
It’s easy to say but keep your cats away from plants, especially if you are not sure that it is safe for them. Do your research and be aware of any plants that are toxic to cats.
2. Avoid Planting European Cypress in Your Garden
If you have a garden or outdoor area, it’s best to avoid planting any European Cypress trees, as there is no way to know if your cat will be attracted to them. If you already have one planted, make sure to take precautions to keep your cat away from it.
3. Monitor Your Cat
Always monitor your cat when they are outside, and make sure you know where they are at all times. If you notice that they are spending time near any unknown plants, remove them immediately and take steps to prevent them from happening again.
4. Keep Plants Out of Reach
If you have houseplants, make sure to keep them out of reach of your cat. Place them in a high shelf or hang them from the ceiling and monitor your pet when they are around them.
5. Contact Your Vet for Advice
If you suspect that your pet has ingested any type of plant or may have been exposed to European Cypress, contact your vet immediately and follow their instructions.
My Final Thoughts
European Cypress poisoning is a serious condition that should be taken seriously. If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned, it is important to contact your vet as soon as possible in order to get the proper treatment for them.
By following these preventative measures, you can help ensure that your pet is safe from European Cypress poisoning. With the right care and attention, your pet should make a full recovery if they do become accidentally poisoned.