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Are cats allergic to or toxic to American Mandrake or is it toxic to them?

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The American Mandrake (Podophyllum peltatum), also known as MayappleIndian Apple RootUmbrella LeafWild LemonHog AppleDuck’s Foot, or Raccoonberry, is a highly toxic plant to cats. While not typically associated with allergies, all parts of this herbaceous perennial, except the ripe fruit, contain the poisonous compounpodophyllin. 

American Mandrake is commonly found in woodlands, pastures, and along fences in eastern North America.

Toxicity level

High

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Symptoms your cat may have

If a cat ingests any part of the American Mandrake plant, it may experience various symptoms due to the toxic compound podophyllin. The severity of the symptoms depends on the amount consumed, but common signs of American Mandrake poisoning in cats include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Panting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Hypersalivation (excessive drooling)
  • Coma (rare

Potential diagnosis your Vet may give

If you suspect your cat has ingested American Mandrake, seek immediate veterinary care. Your veterinarian will likely perform the following steps to diagnose and treat your cat:

  1. Physical examination to assess overall health and check for signs of poisoning.
  2. Blood tests to evaluate organ function and detect any abnormalities.
  3. Urinalysis to assess kidney function and check for damage.
  4. Treatment may include inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal, providing intravenous fluids, and offering supportive care.

 

An illustrative banner depicting an anthropomorphic cat in a vet's office, alongside a call-to-action message that reads: 'If you suspect your pet may have ingested a potentially toxic substance,' accompanied by a prominent button stating 'Find A Vet Near Me!
An illustrative banner depicting an anthropomorphic cat in a vet's office, alongside a call-to-action message that reads: 'If you suspect your pet may have ingested a potentially toxic substance,' accompanied by a prominent button stating 'Find A Vet Near Me!

FAQ

Q: Are cats allergic to American Mandrake?

A: Cats are not allergic to American Mandrake, but the plant is highly toxic to them. All parts of the plant, except the ripe fruit, contain the poisonous compound podophyllin.

Q: What are the symptoms of American Mandrake poisoning in cats?

A: Symptoms of American Mandrake poisoning in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, panting, and in severe cases, coma. Dermal exposure can cause redness and skin ulcers.

Q: Which parts of the American Mandrake plant are toxic to cats?

A: All parts of the American Mandrake plant are toxic to cats, except for the ripe fruit. The plant contains podophyllin, a toxic compound.

Q: What should I do if my cat ingests American Mandrake?

A: If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of the American Mandrake plant, seek immediate veterinary care. The veterinarian may induce vomiting, administer activated charcoal, and provide supportive care such as IV fluids.

Q: Are there any safe alternatives to American Mandrake for cat owners?

A: Yes, there are many pet-safe plants that cat owners can keep instead of American Mandrake. Some options include spider plants, Boston ferns, and catnip. Always research a plant’s safety before bringing it into a home with cats.

Q: Where is American Mandrake commonly found?

A: American Mandrake is commonly found in woodlands, pastures, and along fences in eastern North America. It is a herbaceous perennial plant that typically blooms in May and produces a single, apple-like fruit.

History of the American Mandrake

American Mandrake has a long history of use by Native American tribes for medicinal purposes, including as a purgative, emetic, and treatment for syphilis. The plant’s common name, Mayapple, comes from the fact that it typically blooms in May and produces a single, apple-like fruit.

However, the plant should not be confused with the unrelated European mandrake (Mandragora officinarum), which has its own rich history of medicinal and magical uses. Today, an extract of American Mandrake is used in the treatment of warts due to the presence of the compound podophyllotoxin in its roots and rhizomes

Further reading and sources

Please note: The information shared in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as veterinary medical advice.

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