As the ago old saying goes “Curiosity killed the cat”, well, in my case it warranted a visit to the veterinarian.
As always, I was taking my morning stroll in the garden just like every other morning. At my age, staying fit and health is really important.
While strolling through the garden I stopped and smelled the flowers. Very relaxing, I must say. My first stop was the rose bushes. Each vibrant colour had its own unique smell, each one sweeter than the one before.
I was mesmerised by the various fragrances that met me on my walk.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a bunch of grass like plants proudly displaying their white and purple flowers. I remember an old wife’s tale that says if this plant flowers we will be getting rain. With the hot weather we had I decided that this will be my spot for the morning.
I got comfortable under the plant and watched in amusement as the garden life came fluttering by. The buzz of the bees could be heard in the distance as my eyes focused on a beautiful butterfly. I landed gently on the grass-like leaf in front of me. I raised my paw and tried to pull the leaf closer.
As I touched the plant the butterfly flew off and I was hit in the face with the now somewhat lighter leaf. My whole face took a hit and I got leaves in my mouth. As I tried to protest the leaves, I closed my mouth and bit on the leaf. What an awful taste.
I tried getting rid of the taste without success. The more I tried the more I salivated until I started vomiting. With my constant vomiting I did not even notice mommy in the garden. Luckily mommy noticed me and saw that I was feeling horrible.
Mommy loaded me into the car and we were off to the vet. Once at the vet, mommy told her she found me under the flowers. I was surprised to hear that “Wild Irises” were mild to moderately toxic to pets.
The vet admitted me to hospital and I was taken to the cat ward. Once in the cat ward, the vet asked a nurse to assist and they shaved my paw. They then proceeded to place an IV catheter in my front paw.
The vet quickly drew a sample of blood and ran in through their in-house IDEXX machine to get an idea of my organ function. Poisonous plants normally cause organ issues.
While the machine ran my bloods, I was connected to IV fluids to support my organs and flush out any possible toxins.
I couldn’t believe what was happening to me. When retiring from my day job, I was advised to get a hobby like walking, gardening etc. Who would have known gardening could be so dangerous. I mean how did we go from stopping to smell the flowers, to having an IV placed to flush toxins out.
The vet said my blood tests was looking good. She wanted to keep me overnight on fluid support and monitor my organ function.
When nightfall came, I snuggled with my soft blankie in my private room. When I closed my eyes to sleep all I could think about was the tranquillity of our garden at home. It didn’t take long before I was fast asleep. I woke up a few times during the night to find hospital staff monitoring my vitals. If I had not seen the nurse at the doorway to my room, I would never have known she was there.
Early the next day I heard the sound of birds tweeting outside as the smell of breakfast clung to the air. Can you believe it, I got served room service. After devouring my breakfast, the vet did her rounds and told me I was able to go home today. My blood results were looking good and I had not vomited again.
I was so excited to go home, but felt really scared as I wondered what other dangers were lurking in our garden. So, I would like to urge all pet owners to do research on the plants in your garden and if they are pet friendly or not.
Unfortunately, Irises as well as Gladiolus species are toxic to animals. Scientists have isolated a number of toxic compounds, most notably irisin, terpenoids and quinines. These toxic compounds occur in highest concentrations in the rhizome, or rootstock, and bulbs, but are found in the leaves as well.
Symptoms to watch for include lethargy, excessive salivation and drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea. Poisoning is primarily seen in inquisitive dogs and cats, but toxins can affect humans if they are exposed. Iris toxicity is generally mild in humans, but in pets and cattle, it can cause serious illness. Symptoms vary in severity depending on amount of exposure and which part of the plant was ingested. There is no specific treatment. Supportive care is advised.