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What is Sago Palm Poisoning?

While the sago palm plant is a popular indoor and outdoor plant, it is extremely dangerous for dogs. Unfortunately, most pet owners are generally unaware of the toxicity of this plant until it is too late. Poisoning cases are especially popular in spring and summer when dogs and pet owners are outdoors. Any ingestion of the sago palm will result in symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal to neurological until the dog ultimately develops liver failure. Death often occurs if emergency treatment is not given.

Ingestion of the sago palm plant is extremely toxic to dogs. The sago palm plant contains cycasin, a toxin that leads to liver failure and can be fatal. Any dog that has ingested sago palm must be taken to a veterinarian immediately for emergency treatment.

Sago Palm Poisoning Average Cost

From 102 quotes ranging from $800 - $9,500

Average Cost

$5,000

Symptoms of Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

Symptoms may appear as soon as 15 minutes after ingestion though in some cases may take up to 12 hours to develop. If you suspect that your dog has ingested any part of the sago palm plant, it should be taken to a veterinarian immediately. Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Weakness/lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Jaundice
  • Fluid accumulation in the abdomen
  • Blood in stool
  • Blood in urine
  • Bruising
  • Nose bleeds
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Causes of Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

Sago palm poisoning is caused by ingestion of the plant. While all parts of the plant are dangerous due to the toxin cycasin, the seeds contain the highest amounts. Cycasin can irritate the gastrointestinal tract causing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, but also causes liver failure in large amounts. If left untreated, the failure of the liver will lead to death in a terrible way. In cases of delay the dog will commonly experience fulminating liver disease, shock, and massive hemorrhage, which makes them near impossible to save by a veterinarian clinic.

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Diagnosis of Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

Diagnosis is most often made after the dog’s owner sees that the plant has been eaten by their pet. If you suspect that your dog has ingested any part of the sago palm plant, contact the veterinarian immediately. Diagnosis without proof of ingestion is difficult and tends to rely on the symptoms alone. If you aren't sure, the veterinarian will run both complete blood and urine tests to verify that the liver has been impacted. The doctor will be looking for liver test values that are over the index of a healthy and sick liver as well as any signs of current liver function.

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Treatment of Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

Due to the high fatality rate of sago palm poisoning, aggressive treatment is extremely necessary for dogs that have ingested any part of this plant. A veterinarian will typically induce vomiting using hydrogen peroxide or ipecac. Activated charcoal is likely also going to be given to your dog to soak up any of the poison internally.

If liver damage has occurred, blood and plasma transfusions, vitamin K injections, gastroprotectants, anti-seizure medications, and fluid therapy may be required. Your veterinarian will also evaluate your dog to determine if anti-nausea medications or pain management drugs should be administered.

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Recovery of Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

While sago palm poisoning is a very serious condition, pets that are given emergency treatment can make a full recovery. Dogs recovering from sago palm poisoning may be monitored overnight or for several days by a veterinarian. Additional tests will likely be performed to determine if any permanent damage has occurred to the organs. Follow-up visits may be required in the initial recovery stages. It is also advisable that you remove all sago palm plants from your home to prevent this incident from recurring.

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Cost of Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

The cost of sago palm poisoning is directly related to the time the event occurs, the delay of the pet owner in taking the dog to the veterinarian, the ratio of the dogs size as compared to the amount of the sago palm ingested, and the in-office capabilities of the veterinary hospital. Emergency veterinarian services are, by default, more expensive than regular veterinarian services. If your dog requires multiple days of hospitalization, including overnight care, the total cost of poisoning can exceed $1,500. If the dog has limited exposure and only needs activated charcoal and general monitoring, treatment cost can be as low as a few hundred dollars ($270).

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Sago Palm Poisoning Average Cost

From 102 quotes ranging from $800 - $9,500

Average Cost

$5,000

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Sago Palm Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Jemma

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

11 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness, Jaundice, Poor Appetit
Weakness, Jaundice, Vomitting

My 11 month old lab puppy ate a sago palm seed on Monday morning. She started vomiting about an hour later. I immediately took her to the animal hospital where they gave her Toxiban and started her on IV fluids. Tests showed significantly elevated enzymes in her liver on Monday and the following day after she had been treated overnight at the hospital. She came home Tuesday afternoon and wouldn't eat and drooled constantly. Yesterday, she was given a shot to manage nausea but it didn't help. We were able to give her Denamarin yesterday morning but today she threw it up. I took her back to the hospital this morning for more tests and her Bilirubin had significantly increased to 9.4. ALT decreased slightly valuing at 974 and AST valuing 332. ALP is 644 and GGT is 113. The vet is giving her something for her intestines to see if he cant get her to eat. She is also getting more nausea meds and hooked up to fluids. I am not concerned about the cost of this process but do not want her to suffer more than she has to. Are there any other options? Have you seen a dog bounce back after these numbers and this kind of treatment? When do I suggest a blood transfusion and how viable is that option? Does it take time to find a blood match? Is there any hope? Thank you, Krista

Aug. 9, 2018

Jemma's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There is no cure for sago palm poisoning, all we can do is offer the body as much supportive care as possible to give the best chance of recovery; fluids, liver support and other care will be given to stabilise Jemma. However, the decision on whether a blood or plasma transfusion is indicated would be down to your Veterinarian and the availability of blood or plasma depends largely on where you live. Sago palm poisoning does have a high mortality rate, but it is really difficult to give an indication of prognosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 10, 2018

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Simba

dog-breed-icon

Beagle

dog-age-icon

10 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

I was cutting the dead limbs off of my sago palm and I didn’t know it was poisonous to dogs until a researcher the plant because my hands are swollen from getting poked and feel like crap because my 10 week old puppy was chewing on the end of the limb that I cut off but only for a minute. He seems fine. from the time it happened till I found out it was poisonous was about 5-6 hours and showed no signs. Still isn’t showing signs and it’s been 8 hours. Should I go to the vet in the morning or will he be okay?!

Aug. 6, 2018

Simba's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Sago palm seeds are the most toxic part but the fronds are also toxic too; since Simba is so young and the effects that sago palm can have on the liver you should visit a Veterinarian immediately to be on the safe side and to get liver support for Simba. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 6, 2018

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Zant

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Catahoula mix

dog-age-icon

6 Months

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Fluid In Abdomen

How common is it for a dog that has survived an initial Sego Palm poisoning to develop a protein deficiency 6-8 weeks later? My dog had eaten the leaves of a sego in the beginning of May. He received treatment and was given the all clear two weeks later by our vet. (He had responded to the liver therapy we continued for two weeks after the poisoning) when I came home from work Friday I noticed his stomach looked a little distended, by Saturday morning he looked pregnant so I rushed him to the vet. He was accumulating clear fluid in his abdomin, had a high white blood cell count, anemia, and low protein levels. He was given a dirretic, steroids,and antibiotics and they sent us home some for me to continue. They didn't want to pull the fluid off because it might send him into shock but if the dirretic didn't work by Monday morning, I was supposed to bring him back and they would remove the fluid. By Sunday morning his stomach was stretched to the size of a beach ball so I rushed him to the emergency vet. They told me this is a very rare side effect from the sego Palm poisoning where 6-8 weeks after the initial poisoning the dog will develop a protein deficiency that comes on rapidly and has a very low survival rate. I was wondering how often this really happens and if you have seen this before. The emergency vet said he had only seen it two other times and even with aggressive treatment, the other two dogs had not survived.

June 27, 2018

Zant's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

I'm sorry that that is happening to Zant. The toxicity to the liver in Sago palm poisoning is dramatic and often fatal. I haven't personally seen this syndrome, but it does exist. I hope that Zant pulls through this problem.

June 27, 2018

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Molly

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Pit bull

dog-age-icon

16 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

We believe our dog ate some type of palm this morning around 11 AM. She threw up around 6 PM and then vomited her dinner around 9 PM. She seems to be completely normal otherwise. The palm was dead, not sure if that makes a difference or not. Should we be concerned?

June 14, 2018

Molly's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

The seed of the sago palm is the most toxic, but the remainder of the palm is still toxic including dead leaves as they don’t reduce in toxicity once dead. Liver failure is a concern after ingestion of the sago palm and I would recommend you visit your Veterinarian for an examination and blood test to be on the safe side as we are not sure how much was consumed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 14, 2018

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Bear

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Shepadoodle

dog-age-icon

5 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

None

Our Shepadoodle puppy ate a part of a sago palm last Sunday. We discovered what he had eaten after he started throwing up and then took him right to the vet. He stayed in the hospital for a few days of treatment and when released his enzyme levels were only slightly elevated and had been that way through his whole stay. I was told to take him to our regular vet to have the levels checked a few days later and they were almost exactly the same as they were in the hospital. I thought we were pretty much in the clear and were told to bring him back 3 days later to ch close one more time. So I took him in today and his ALT and ALP are both considerably higher. I have to take him back in 2 days to check again but am now so worried. He is acting and eating fine. Can the levels bounce around like this? I really thought we had dodged a bullet and now don’t know what to think. :( What is your opinion?

May 21, 2018

Bear's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Liver enzymes may increase for a while after consumption (week or so more); this is why we monitor the values every few days instead of thinking that we’re in the clear. It is important to continue with the Denamarin and hydration therapy (may require intravenous fluids) along with monitoring of liver values every few days. Sago palm poisoning has a very high mortality rate, which is why we monitor it very closely. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/sago-palm/

May 22, 2018

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Luna

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

9 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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1 found helpful

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Nausea
Lack Of Coordination

We came to know about this plant being so toxic once our 8 month lab puppy eat one of this plants that was daying and just about to be thrown to the garbage. We reacted relatively quick same day few hours later, emergency clinic and follow up appointments with her veterinarian. Next day we saw some fake improvement, while she was definitely not the same she tried her best to act normal and we understood she was on a recovery process, about a week later she quit eating, we tried with different food and vet recommendations which worked for couple of days then quit eating again, this time there was no way to get food into her. We took her to an specialty clinic where we were told she had liver failure and there was nothing to be done then. While we did everything possible and didn't reach a point of money concern (dog insurance helped a lot) we believe there were things that could be done differently: 1.- there is not a lot of awareness about this type of poisoning, we believe the initial treatment at the emergency clinic could of be much more aggressive initially. 2.- dont loose time and money on small clinics, look for a hospital and make an effort to get the right level attention at the beginning, if done late the chances are low to non 3.- she looked physically healthy,astrong and in good spirits, didn't loose any weight, didn't bleed through the nose or mouth but at the end her feces were dark showing a probable internal bleedind. 4.- medication was complicated probably because our lack of experience or probably because it was too much and she was not feeling well then she got afraid of us at the end while we were trying to help her(Denamarin, famotidine, vitamin K, sucralfate and metoclopramide injection... were part of her treatment) 5.- blood or plasma transfusion was not diagnosed but perhaps if done on time may help (dont know) In some dogs the bad news come quickly on some others like ours takes time, I've read about other cases similar to ours where a fake recovery shows some hope but soon after the toxicity of this plant will pay its toll. Hope this helps others and will emphasize to be aggressive at the beginning to increase your chances

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Tikka

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

4 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

I have a 4 month old chihuahua puppy that chewed a saga palm leaf. She was immediately at the vet within 45 min of the chew. She was induced vomit and charcoaled 3 times total. All blood work is normal as of September .23 2 days ago. I’m going for another test Friday September 27th. That will be 7 days total. Can this show up later like in a couple weeks?

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Cleo

dog-breed-icon

Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

7 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Lethargy
Vomiting

My 7 month old chihuahua terrier mix threw up 4 times and had diarrhea twice after I brought her home from my moms house. She became extremely lethargic and I took her to the er. They thought it could be parvo but after the test was negative they asked if she had been around sago palms- and my mom has sago palms planted in her backyard. Her ALT liver enzyme levels were over 1000. They have her anti nausea meds, antibiotics, and activated charcoal. They kept her on fluids overnight and the next morning they said her vitals were all normal and her clotting levels were lowering. We went to visit her and she looked more like her normal self. They said she was on the way to recovery. She ate food and kept it down and drank water. They gave her dextrose to keep her blood sugar normal. They took blood again later that day but it still showed that her ALT liver enzyme levels were over 1000. They gave me the option to take her home and see how she does or leave her another 24 hours and keep her on fluids and receive a plasma transfusion. I chose to keep her there and on fluids to be on the safe side. I’m worried that her liver enzyme levels won’t go down (even though she finally looks and seems back to her normal self) or that once I take her home after another 24 hours she will decline after being taken off fluids. Does this progress seem to be positive? Is there a chance she will completely regress after being taken off fluids? I’m just very worried bc her ALT levels are still very high. I just want to know if I can be more positive about my baby surviving since there have been good signs.

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Luke

dog-breed-icon

Maltese

dog-age-icon

3 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Vomited After Hydrogen Peroxide

My 14 week old Maltese barely licked an open seed which was leaking a milky like substance. I grabbed him quickly and called my vet. Have given hydrogen peroxide within within 40 minutes of exposure and an hour and half later he finally vomited. I’m hoping a little lick of that milk isn’t enough to cause damage?

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Gibson and Vinny

dog-breed-icon

Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

Inhave two digs, and have been noticing them eating these weird seed like things. The first day one of them had thrown a few up, but then was fine. I had no idea what he had gotten into. I keep noticing the other with one in his mouth. I finally found a ton of berry like seeds under my huge palm tree. The dogs have been getting into them, but I keep scooping the seed part out of their mouth. One of them threw some up thos afternoon. But both seem fine. Their poop issolid, ,and they are eating and drinking like normal. Do I need to just keep an eye out for any other signs?

Sago Palm Poisoning Average Cost

From 102 quotes ranging from $800 - $9,500

Average Cost

$5,000

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