Sago Palm Poisoning In Dogs, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Sago palms are a beautiful plant found in homes around the country.

With thriving both indoor and outdoor, our pets have access to these plants in many settings.

While this plant is a crowd favorite among plant lovers, it is extremely toxic to dogs.

Sago palm ingestion is potentially fatal for our furry friends, making it so important to be aware of the potential risks.

In this article we will discuss the details of sago palm poisoning in our canine friends, and help you better understand why you should keep this plant away from your dog at all costs.

Sago Palm Poisoning In Dogs

What Are Sago Palm Plants?

Sago palms are a hardy plant that are popular among plant lovers.

They are known for being easy to care for, making them an ideal choice for beginner gardeners.

Sago palms are not actually a palm at all, but are rather considered a cycad.

Though they are not a true palm, they do have an appearance similar to a miniature palm tree.

These plants have feathered foliage that are bright green, and typically have a thick stock.

Due to their signature look, these plants are typically easy to identify.

Are Sago Palms Toxic To Dogs?

Sago palms are extremely toxic for our canine companions.

A substance known as cycasin is present throughout the plant, causing life threatening illness when any portion of the plant is consumed.

Though dogs can experience toxicity when consuming any portion of the plant, the seeds are especially potent.

The cycasin in sago palms can lead to ultimate liver failure when a dog ingests any amount of the plant.

This substance can be so harmful to our furry friends, that even aggressive medical treatment cannot save every dog affected.

This is why it is so important to seek immediate veterinary care the moment you notice your dog ingesting any portion of the plant, as fast action offers your dog the best chance at survival.

Signs Of Sago Palm Poisoning In Dogs

Signs of sago palm poisoning can begin as early as 15 minutes after the plant is ingested.

Jumping into action immediately is essential in treating sago palm poisoning in dogs, so it’s important to be aware of the potential symptoms that can develop.

Some of the most common symptoms of sago palm poisoning in dogs include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Increased thirst
  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Weakness
  • Ataxia
  • Muscle tremors
  • Dark urine
  • Seizures
  • Jaundice
  • Blood in the urine
  • Distended abdomen
  • Abnormal bruising

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your dog, we suggest seeking veterinary care immediately.

Even if sago palm poisoning is not the cause of your dog’s symptoms, these signs can point to other serious medical complications as well.

Testing For Sago Palm Poisoning In Dogs

There is no specific diagnostic option for sago palm poisoning in dogs, but you can expect your veterinarian to perform a full panel of blood tests.

Sago palm ingestion can lead to liver damage and failure in many cases, so it’s important to establish a baseline from the moment your dog steps in the hospital.

Liver enzymes can take up to 3 days to show evidence of damage, so repeated blood tests are crucial in detecting the changes as they occur.

When a dog is hospitalized for sago palm toxicity, most vets will perform a liver panel once every 24 hours until they are out of the window of danger.

Treating Sago Palm Poisoning In Dogs

Treatment for sago palm poisoning in dogs will vary based on how early the ingestion is detected.

For example, if you take your dog to the vet within a few hours of ingestion, your vet may be able to induce vomiting to expel any plant material that is still in the stomach.

They may then prescribe activated charcoal to help neutralize the toxin, as well as getting your dog started on GI medications to prevent any future GI upset.

However, most dogs that ingest any amount of sago palm plant should be hospitalized for good measure.

This will allow your vet to administer IV fluids to assist in flushing the toxin, monitor their liver enzymes for any sign of damage, as well as monitoring them for any developing symptoms.

If your dog does not show any sign of liver injury, your vet will likely feel comfortable with sending them home at that point.

If your dog has developed neurological symptoms or liver damage, they will require more intensive treatment.

You can expect your vet to suggest multiple days in the hospital to manage their symptoms, as well as monitoring their liver enzymes throughout their treatment.

Liver damage can also lead to internal bleeding, as the liver plays a major role in blood coagulation.

Because of this, severe sago palm toxicities have a guarded prognosis.

Prognosis Of Sago Palm Poisoning In Dogs

If a dog receives medical treatment in the hours after their sago palm ingestion, they typically have a fair prognosis.

Immediate treatment and hospitalization can help to prevent liver damage, as well as tending to any other symptoms as they occur.

When liver damage is not present, many dogs will have a chance at a full recovery.

If liver damage or neurological symptoms are present, the prognosis is often guarded.

Aggressive care can help to offer them the best chance at recovery, but it is impossible to know how the body will respond.

If your dog is experiencing a severe sago palm toxicity, your veterinarian is the best one to ask about their prognosis.

Final Thoughts

They may be beautiful, but sago palm plants can be deadly to our canine friends.

If you have a furry friend in your life, we suggest keeping any sago palms out of reach at all times.

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