Although onion and garlic both may seem like totally harmless everyday kitchen staples to you, they are in no way safe for your cat -- or dog, for the matter. Not only are onions and garlic both poisonous to pets, so are all of their "relatives," from leeks to scallions.
Toxicity of Onion and Garlic
Although onions and garlic are hazardous to cats, dogs and horses, they are especially risky to felines, warns the ASPCA. If a cat takes in enough of either of these foods, he may develop severe red blood cell detriment and a condition known as Heinz body hemolytic anemia. It may take several days for anemia symptoms to become apparent in cats, whether reddish urine or weakness. All forms of both of these kinds of alliums are threatening to felines -- even ground up, powdered onions.
If you're worried that your cat had onions or garlic in any amount, seek veterinary assistance immediately -- without even a moment of hesitation. Also be attentive to key signs of consumption. If your cat ate onions or garlic, you may notice him throwing up.
If your poor kitty is suffering from loose, watery stools and is making more trips to his litter box than normal, diarrhea may be the culprit. Diarrhea sometimes signifies onion and garlic toxicity, so don't dismiss it as a minor tummy upset.
Quickly glance into your pet's litter box. If his urine appears to be tinged with blood, act fast. Even if the blood in the urine is unrelated to allium toxicity, it could indicate a bevy of other health ailments, including feline urological syndrome and bacterial cystitis.
Panting and Lack of Strength
Panting is not as common in felines as it is in canines, so if your precious kitty is panting, something is up -- possibly onion or garlic poisoning. If your cat appears to be zapped of energy, weak and just tired, investigate the situation. Cats with onion or garlic toxicity sometimes even fall to the ground out of sheer frailty.
Stomachaches also occasionally signify onion and garlic toxicity. If your cat's body appears to be crouched over in discomfort, don't ignore it. The poor thing is likely experiencing major tummy pain.
Other Symptoms and Signs
Other common symptoms and signs of allium ingestion in felines are excessive salivation, rapid heart rate, irritation inside of the mouth and unusually light colored gums. Whether you notice one symptom or five of them, one thing is certain -- your cat requires veterinary attention, pronto.
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Consultant
- The Humane Society of the United States: Common Household Dangers for Pets
- ASPCA: Onion
- ASPCA: Garlic
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Pet First Aid
- Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine: Heinz Body Anemia in Cats
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