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Amaryllis is a beautiful and flowering perennial native to South Africa. Its large, showy trumpet-shaped flowers make a popular display in homes, especially around Christmas. The plant blooms from late December to early June and can be found in several red to pink colours, often on a striped white background.
- Family: Amaryllidaceae
- Scientific name: Amaryllis
- Other names: Hippeastrum, Belladonna lily, naked lady, resurrection lily, butterfly amaryllis, St Joseph lily
- Toxic compounds: Calcium oxalate crystals and phenanthridine alkaloids (Lycorine, haemanthamine, amaryllidine, tazzetine, hippeastrine, pancracine and vittatine)
Level of toxicity
- Mild to moderate
Calcium oxalate crystals
- Oral pain, drooling, gum swelling
- Skin irritation if exposed to the sap
- Abdominal pain
Lycorine is the primary alkaloid responsible for gastrointestinal signs which include:
Other alkaloids are present in smaller amounts, and can cause:
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Respiratory depression
What should I do if my cat has been exposed?
Contact your veterinarian or your local poisons helpline for advice.
The treatment of choice for most types of poisoning is gastrointestinal decontamination (induce vomiting) if the exposure was recent.
- Activated charcoal to bind to the remaining toxins in the gastrointestinal tract
- Fluids to maintain hydration until the cat recovers
- Nutritional support
Keep plants and flowers which are toxic to cats out of the home, especially if your cat is prone to nibbling plants.