“Avocado leaves, fruit, seeds and bark contain a toxic principle known as persin. The Guatemalan variety, which is the most common variety found in stores, appears to be the most problematic,” according to Dana Farbman, CVT, of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
The primary concern is with gastrointestinal irritation, such as with cat vomiting and diarrhea. Typically, these effects are seen in cats and dogs that have ingested significant quantities of fruit or branches. Avocado ingestion causes more severe symptoms and even death in birds, goats and cattle.
On the other hand, just the right part of the plant in just the right amount in commercial food and medicine has its health benefits for cats and dogs. An extract derived from avocado and soybean oils is used in the feline joint supplement Dasuquin, which you can only get from your veterinarian, because the ingredient is reported to benefit joint health and remedy osteoarthritis. Avocado meal and oil are also used in the cat food and dog food Avoderm, because of nutrients that support healthy skin and coat.
If you suspect that your cat has eaten a potentially dangerous substance — call your veterinarian or the Poison Control Center’s emergency hotline at (888) 426-4435 for 24-hour telephone assistance.
For more information on poison prevention, visit the ASPCA Poison Control Center.