April Showers They’re Not but Be Wary of the Poisonous Plants

The recent heavy rains in many parts of the country are just a reminder that plants, flowers and other ornamentals are growing at a unusually fast rate this summer, a time when growth is often the slowest.  As a result, mushrooms, tulips, lilies, rhododendrons and a variety of other potentially toxic plants are looking as healthy as ever.  Nearly any plant material can cause a mild stomach upset in cats and dogs, but some household plants and shrubs pose a much higher risk. Some plants produce toxins that can attack specific organ systems causing serious illness or, in some instances, death. Recently the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center published an updated list of some of the most common toxic plants that are in unusual abundance this year. Below is a partial accounting of a few common plants in the New England area. If  you find one listed below that is present in your, or a nearby yard, be on notice.  The common name is listed below with an occasional scientific name or note. This is only a PARTIAL list.  If you are concerned that you have poison plants growing in or near your yard that could affect  your pets, go to the above website.  A phone number is also listed if you still have questions.  In the meantime, get out with  your pets and enjoy the rest of the summer.

Toxic Plants

  1. Aloe (if ingested)
  2. Amaryllis
  3. Autumn Crocus (there are many varieties of crocus in New England.  This is only one of them)
  4. Azalea (a member of the Rhododendron species)
  5. Black Nightshade
  6. Easter Lily (very toxic to cats but not so to dogs)
  7. Glory Lily
  8. Foxglove (plant from which the cardiac drug “digitalis”  is derived)
  9. Poison Parsnip (related to Queen Ann’s lace)
  10. Spindle Tree (a type of Euonymus)
  11. Sweet Pea
  12. Tulip (gardeners beware……highest concentration of toxin is in the bulb)
  13. Toxic Wild Mushrooms (very prevalent in New England right now after all the rain. An entire column could be devoted to this subject.  Best approach, prevent your pet from ingesting any wild mushrooms)

Remember, this is only a partial list.  Plant ingestion of any kind may cause gastro intestinal problems.  If you suspect that your cat or dog may have ingested any plant that has made him or her sick, please feel free to contact us. If you can identify the plant by common or scientific so much the better.  In the meantime, have fun with your for legged friend.