June 25, 2015

Animal Poison Control Alert: Beware of Sago Palms

Animal Poison Control Alert: Beware of Sago Palms

Every year, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) handles thousands of cases of pets eating various plants. But lately, one plant has become a growing cause of pet poisoning across the United States: 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 APCC has seen a spike of more than 200% in Sago Palm toxicity cases nationwide. 50-75% of ingestion cases result in fatalities.

“It used to be that we only got calls from places like Texas, Florida and California, but about three years ago we started seeing cases pop up other places,” says APCC Medical Director Tina Wismer. Because people in Northern regions may not be as familiar with this plant, we want to arm pet-parents with this information. While the Sago Palm’s seeds are the most poisonous component, the entire plant is toxic. 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.

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!