Clay Humane News

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Beware of Poisonous Sago Palms

Every year, Clay Humane handles dozens of cases of pets eating various plants. Dogs are known to chew on and eat plants, and sometimes they unwittingly eat plants that have toxic properties to them. But, lately, one plant has become a growing cause of pet poisoning with five cases presented within the last  two months alone: the Sago Palm.

The Sago Palm (Cycas Revoluta) is a stocky, spike-leaved plant that is often used for landscaping. It is most commonly seen in Southern states, but thanks to increasing availability in gardening and big box stores nationwide, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has seen a spike of more than 200% in Sago Palm toxicity cases nationwide. 50-75% of ingestion cases result in fatalities.
All parts of the Sago Palm are poisonous, but the seeds (nuts) are the most toxic to pets and are easier for them to eat than the prickly fronds. The Sago Palm toxin, called cycasin, attacks the liver causing a broad range of symptoms. The degree of liver failure determines the severity of the symptoms.

Clinical signs of Sago Palm toxicity include:

  • Vomiting
  • Bloody stools
  • Jaundice
  • Increased thirst
  • Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis
  • Bruising
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Liver damage or liver failure
  • Death can occur without immediate treatment.

Cycasin works quickly, causing symptoms as early as 15 minutes post-ingestion, although in some cases signs may not appear for several hours. The key is to seek help when you first suspect your dog or cat consumed Sago Palm. If you think that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately!