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Are cats allergic to Fetter Bush or is it toxic to them?

Byzantine art style depiction of a Fetter Bush with clusters of small, bell-shaped flowers

Fetter bush (Lyonia lucida), also known as shining fetterbush, is an evergreen shrub native to the southeastern United States. This plant is considered toxic to cats if ingested. Fetter bush contains grayanotoxins which can cause serious illness in felines.

It is commonly found growing in swampy areasbogs, and wet woods from Virginia to Florida and west to Louisiana.

Toxicity level

High

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Additional image of the plant

Symptoms your cat may have

If a cat ingests any part of the fetter bush plant, it can experience a range of uncomfortable and potentially dangerous symptoms. Signs your cat may have eaten this poisonous plant include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Cardiac issues

In severe cases, fetter bush poisoning can lead to cardiac failure in cats. Seek immediate veterinary care if you suspect your cat has ingested this plant.

Potential diagnosis your Vet may give

If you bring your cat to the vet with symptoms of plant toxicity, the vet will likely:

  1. Ask about your cat’s recent activities and possible exposure to toxic plants
  2. Perform a physical exam to check vital signs and look for evidence of plant matter in the mouth or vomit
  3. Run lab work such as blood tests to evaluate organ function
  4. Provide supportive care such as fluids, anti-nausea medication, and monitoring of heart function
  5. Possibly administer activated charcoal to bind any remaining toxins in the GI tract

Your vet may diagnose grayanotoxin poisoning based on the cat’s symptoms, exam, and known ingestion of fetter bush.

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 Fetter Bush?

A: Yes, cats can be allergic to Fetter Bush. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include itching, sneezing, and skin irritation.

Q: Is Fetter Bush toxic to cats?

A: Yes, Fetter Bush, also known as Leucothoe or Dog Hobble, is toxic to cats. Ingesting any part of this plant can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling.

Q: What are the symptoms of Fetter Bush poisoning in cats?

A: Symptoms of Fetter Bush poisoning in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, abdominal pain, and lethargy. Immediate veterinary care is recommended if ingestion is suspected.

Q: How can I prevent my cat from coming into contact with Fetter Bush?

A: To prevent contact, ensure that Fetter Bush is not present in your home or garden. Keep your cat indoors or monitor outdoor activities closely to avoid exposure.

Q: What should I do if my cat ingests Fetter Bush?

A: If your cat ingests Fetter Bush, contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed by a veterinary professional. Immediate medical attention is necessary.

Q: Is Fetter Bush commonly found in gardens?

A: Yes, Fetter Bush is commonly found in gardens and as an ornamental plant. It is important to ensure this plant is kept out of reach of cats to prevent accidental ingestion.

History of the Fetter Bush

Native Americans, including the Seminole Tribe, historically used the strong, woody stems of fetter bush to make pipe bowls for smoking tobacco. The name “fetter bush” refers to how the plant’s dense growth can impede movement of humans and animals when growing in the wild.

While an attractive landscape plant with glossy evergreen foliage and fragrant pink flowers, fetter bush is not recommended for gardens where cats may have access due to the risk of feline toxicity. Stick to cat-friendly plants to keep your kitty safe.

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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