Azaleas are a widely popular ornamental shrub loved by many gardeners. Not only because of their hardy nature, but because of their stunning colors ranging from pale pastel to vibrant jewel tones.
If you own a cat, you will know they love to explore new things. Curiosity killed the cat after all! So before you plant your Azalea, it’s always best to do some research to find out what plants are toxic to your feline friend.
Are Azaleas poisonous to cats? Yes, Azaleas are very poisonous to cats. If ingested, they contain grayanotoxins which disrupt sodium channels affecting the skeletal and cardiac muscle. This can lead to vomiting, hypotension, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, seizures, and in severe cases even death.
What To Do If Your Cat Ingests Azaleas?
If you see or suspect your cat may have eaten Azaleas then you should call the Pet Poison Hotline – (855) 764-7661
They will be able to walk you through step by step what you should do and if you need to go see your veterinarian right away. At best, if your cat isn’t showing any serious poisoning symptoms, then try to give your cat some milk thistle or water to help flush out the toxins.
What Is The Treatment For Azaleas Poisoning in Cats?
If Azalea poisoning is suspected by your veterinarian then, he or she will start by giving your cat saline or activated charcoal. This is a common medication given to humans and animals for all kinds of overdoses.
It works by quickly flushing the digestive system and will absorb the Azaleas before the body can. After that, they will treat the symptoms such as vomiting by giving an anti-nausea med, followed by IV fluids to help prevent dehydration.
The most important thing is recognizing your cat has ingested Azaleas, and getting them to the veterinarian quickly before the Azalea is absorbed into your cat’s body.
Signs and Symptoms of Azalea Poisoning
The severity of the symptoms depends on the amount of the plant that was ingested. You will know how bad the severity of poisoning is within a few hours of your cat ingesting the Azalea.
The effects of Azalea toxicity range from vomiting, and in extreme cases, heart failure. Normally, the first signs you would see in your cat is drooling, lethargy (not responding appropriately), vomiting, and diarrhea. Other signs would be a lack of appetite, trembling, and poor eyesight.
If your cat has a sudden onset of these symptoms and you know that you have Azaleas around your house. It would be a good idea to get them to the veterinarian as quick as you can.
How To Tell If You Have Azaleas?
Azaleas have a wide variation of flower size, shape, form, and color, which adds to their interest. There are over 250 species available, and are part of the heath (Ericaceae) family.
Azaleas will bloom from early spring, all the way through summer and sometimes into fall. The flowers are either tubular, funnel, or shaped like a bell. However, depending on the species they can have a strong fragrance or no smell at all.
Here are some pictures of some different types of Azalea plants:
As you can see, Azaleas are very toxic to cats. The best thing to do if your cat eat the plant is to get them to your local vet as soon as you can and tell them what happened. They will treat the symptoms and your cat should have a full recovery
If you suspect you have Azaleas in your yard and are worried about your pet getting into them, then you can simply dig it up and move it to another location. Some local plant and garden clubs may even do it for you.
If you have cats, the safest option would always be to not have Azalea plants around your house and get some safer non-toxic plants.