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Are cats allergic to Indian Hemp or is it toxic to them?

Gothic-style illustration of an Apocynum cannabinum plant

Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum), also known as dogbane, is a perennial herbaceous plant native to North America. This plant is highly toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. All parts of the Indian hemp plant contain cardiac glycosides, which are poisonous compounds that can cause severe health issues in felines.

Indian hemp is commonly found in open wooded areas, ditches, and hillsides, often near streams or in moist, shady places.

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 Indian hemp plant, they may experience several symptoms due to the toxic cardiac glycosides present in the plant. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (possibly with blood)
  • Weakness
  • Slow heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blue coloration of mucous membranes
  • Possible convulsions

Potential diagnosis your Vet may give

If you suspect your cat has ingested Indian hemp, it is crucial to seek veterinary care immediately. Your veterinarian will likely follow these steps to diagnose and treat your cat:

  1. Perform a thorough physical examination
  2. Ask about your cat’s recent activities and possible exposure to toxic plants
  3. Run blood tests to assess organ function and check for signs of poisoning
  4. Administer supportive care, such as intravenous fluids and medications to control symptoms
  5. Monitor your cat’s heart rate and blood pressure closely

For more information on what to do if your cat has ingested a poisonous plant, visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

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: Is Indian hemp toxic to animals?

A: Indian hemp is toxic to animals, including cats. Its milky-white sap contains cardiac glycosides, which can be harmful if ingested by pets.

Q: Is hemp toxic for cats?

A: Hemp itself is generally not toxic to cats, and CBD products derived from hemp can be safe and effective for managing pain in pets. However, it’s essential to use these products under veterinary supervision to ensure proper dosage and safety.

Q: Is Indian hemp bad?

A: Indian hemp is considered harmful due to its toxicity and invasive nature. It poses risks to domestic livestock and is classified as a noxious weed.

Q: Is Indian hemp the same as hemp?

A: Indian hemp and true hemp (Cannabis sativa) are different plants. Although sometimes referred to as Indian hemp, true hemp is primarily used for its fibers and medicinal properties, while Indian hemp is toxic.

Q: Is Indian hemp toxic to cats?

A: Yes, Indian hemp is toxic to cats. Ingesting any part of this plant can cause serious health issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and heart problems in felines.

Q: Are cats allergic to Dogbane Hemp?

A: Dogbane hemp is highly toxic to cats due to its cardiac glycosides. These compounds can cause severe cardiac issues, so it’s crucial to keep cats away from this plant.

History of Indian Hemp

Indian hemp has a long history of use by Native American tribes. The plant’s strong, silky fibers were used to create cordage, string, and thread for making bags, mats, nets, and clothing. Some tribes also used Indian hemp for its medicinal properties, preparing weak teas from the berries and roots to treat heart ailments, induce sweating and vomiting, and prevent hair loss.

Despite its historical uses, Indian hemp is now recognized as a highly toxic plant to many animals, including cats. It is essential for pet owners to be aware of the risks associated with this plant and to keep their feline companions away from it.

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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