GARLIC, ONIONS AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE LILLY FAMILY: The use of garlic and other members of the Lilly family such as onions, shallots, and chives in the cat’s diet is not advised. Ingestion of these plants in a raw, cooked, or dried form can lead to damage of the red blood cells, which are rejected by the body from the bloodstream, and a continue use of garlic or onions can eventually result in hemolytic anemia. If the anemia is not controlled by discontinuing the use of the plants, it can potentially lead to death. Less significant but important is that raw garlic and onions irritate the mouth, esophagus, and stomach and cause or exacerbate ulcers.
“Onion poisoning in the cat who reported a hemolytic anemia and increase in Heinz bodies in cats that had consumed onion soup. Allicin, which gives garlic its odor, is a strong oxidant, that is, a chemical that creates free radicals, which in excess, can be dangerous. Allicin can cause stomach irritation. If placed directly on the skin, allicin can cause blistering. Cats or Dogs should never be given raw, unaged garlic because it is very irritating to the mouth, esophagus, and stomach and can cause or exacerbate ulcers.
What are Heinz bodies? Heinz bodies are pieces of oxidized hemoglobin. What is Hemolytic anemia? The immune reaction against the bodies own cells is initated by exposure of the cat to a foreign antigen.