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Veterinarian

Sago Palm Poisoning

Sago Palm

Sago Palms have become a popular plant used in Austin landscapes.  Though they may be well adapted to the central Texas weather, these plants are deadly to dogs and cats. All parts of sago palm are considered poisonous, with the seeds (nuts) being the most toxic part of the plant. Sago palm contains cycasin, which is the primary toxic agent.  Consuming or chewing on this plant is dangerous resulting in severe liver failure in dogs.

Signs and Symptoms of Sago Palm Poisoning

Sago Palm Seeds

Be aware of loose Sago Palm seeds & leaves when taking your pet outside

Within hours after ingesting any part of the Sago Palm, symptoms of poison may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

As the symptoms progress, along with liver failure and nervous system toxicity, your pet may exhibit abnormal fluid accumulation in the abdomen, abdominal pain, jaundice, and black-tarry stool which may begin within 15 minutes to several hours after ingestion.  Central nervous system signs such as weakness, ataxia, seizures and severe liver failure can begin within 2-3 days of ingestion.  

Most pet owners are unaware of the dangers of Sago Palms.  If your pet eats, chews or even licks any part of these plants contact your veterinarian or one of our emergency hospitals immediately.  Aggressive treatment will be required to save your dog’s life.  Even with immediate treatment, the survival rate for dogs poisoned by Sago Palm is about 50%. 

Treatment for Sago Palm Poisoning

Sago Palm Treatment

Sago Palm tree from above

Unfortunately, there is no antidote for cycasin, the toxic substance found in the sago palm. It is extremely important to get your pet to an emergency veterinarian in Austin as quickly as possible if you suspect they have ingested a sago palm. The treatment is supportive and will include inducing vomiting, activated charcoal to bind with toxins, intravenous fluid therapy, anti-nausea medications, anti-seizure medications, vitamin K injections and other treatments in response to liver failure.  Again, even with prompt treatment, the survival rate is about 50%.

Protect Your Pet, Contact Your Emergency Animal Hospital in Austin

Ingesting any part of the sago palm is extremely toxic to your pet. To avoid accidental ingestion, these plants should be kept well out of your pet’s reach. If you have a Sago Palm in your yard, make sure your pets are not able to come in contact with it or remove it completely. When removing a Sago, make sure all of the roots are removed as well and keep dogs away from the area until you are sure it is no longer a danger.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any type of poisonous substance, contact the Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin immediately for care at 512-331-6121.