Potpourri oil is used every day in homes across the
country--but few pet owners are aware that this popular household
fragrance can be dangerous to cats if ingested. "Most potpourri liquids
contain natural or essential oils, which can cause vomiting, upset
stomach, diarrhea, weakness and possibly liver damage," cautions Jill A.
Richardson, DVM, of the ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center.
Some products can also burn the mouth and tongue. And should the liquid
get in the cat's eyes or on the skin, the pain can be severe.
In most cases of potpourri toxicity treated through the
NAPCC's 24-hour emergency hotline--1-888-4-ANI-HELP--cats were exposed
by either rubbing against leaky bottles or pots containing the oil or by
spilling it onto themselves. Instinctively, many cats tried to groom
themselves, thereby ingesting the potpourri. "Fortunately," says
Richardson, "with proper treatment and good supportive care--which may
include veterinary-prescribed use of gastrointestinal protectants,
antibiotics and pain killers--most cats recover within a few days."
The Center's licensed veterinarians and board-certified
veterinary toxicologists have been available since 1978 to advise animal
owners and confer with veterinarians.
For more information, visit:
Go on to Poem: If Only
They Knew? by Colleen Ferro
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