Sago Palms VERY Poisonous To Dogs, Cats, Humans
Sago Palms, or Cycas revoluta, are very pretty as a landscaping plant, but they are VERY poisonous to dogs, cats, and humans!!
We have had one growing in the back corner of the yard, near the fence, for the past 12 years. We've had dogs, in the back yard, for the past 9 years. Over those years, those dogs have dragged sticks, leaves, furniture, dead birds and a whole lot of mud onto the patio. Last week, for the first time, I noticed that Lil' Bit had bitten off a branch from the Sago Palm and was systematically pulling the leaves off, one at a time.
At the time, I thought nothing of it. Later that night, Shannon told me that she had witnessed Lil' Bit throwing up in the back yard when she got home from work. That sparked a distant memory: my brother had told me something about a Sago Palm/Dogs. I immediately went to Snopes to look it up, and, sure enough, the words made my blood run cold.
According to Snopes:
Dogs are especially at risk to sago palm poisoning
One of the estimates of the fatality rate of a dog that ingests any part of the Sago Palm is between 50 and 75%. Of those that don't die from the initial ingestion, most go through their lives with liver damage, and up to 90% of them eventually die from complications of that liver damage. Some of the symptoms of Sago Palm ingestion include vomiting, black (tarry) stools, jaundice, increased thirst, bruising, blood clotting problems, liver damage, and, finally, death!
Upon reading this, we immediately grabbed Lil'Bit and headed to Lafayette's Emergency Vet Clinic (on Winchester Drive, behind Pilot's Pub on Congress). They sprung into action, quickly administering fluids and checking the liver values. They sent us home, slightly reassured (Lil' Bit was no longer showing symptoms, but they kept her to monitor her as a precaution). We picked her up the next day, and she was as spry as ever (and VERY happy to see us!).
It seems that Lil' Bit was just pulling the leaves off of the branch; she wasn't chewing or swallowing them. Whew!!
Veterinarian Tal Guidry, DVM, (from Guidry Animal Hospital in Lafayette) says:
"Every part of the Sago Palm is toxic: the leaves, the roots, the branches, but the seeds and seed pod are most toxic. If you see or suspect that your pet has ingested ANY part of the plant, induce vomiting right away by making them drink hydrogen peroxide AND then take the pet to a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY. The vet will take a blood sample and start an IV of fluids to try to flush any toxins out of their system. The blood sample will show the liver enzyme level (the liver is what is affected by the sago palm). If you catch the poisoning early enough, the survival rate of your pet can be increased by 50%. If you don't catch it early, the fatality rate is very high".
Dr. Guidry went on to say that the flavor of the Sago Palm is VERY palatable to dogs. When asked if he would recommend pet (dog, cat, kid) owners should remove any Sago Palms from their property, his response, without hesitation, was "immediately!".
Sago Palms aren't the only poisonous plants you need to worry about. CyberCanine.com provides this list of other plants/flowers that are toxic to dogs, so it's a good ideas to rid your house/yard of these if you love your four-footed furry friends! Pets.WebMD.com lists the "10 Top Dog Poisons", while About.com has this list.
Oh, and remember: Sago Palms are poisonous to people, too. So, don't put that in your mouth, and keep an eye on the kids, ok?
Dr. Tal Guidry, DVM, and Guidry Animal Hospital, is committed to providing quality care to their patients as well as personal service to their clients. You can contact Dr. Guidry and his staff at (337) 706-8387, via email firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also follow them on Facebook.