Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Sago Palm Poisoning?

The sago palm is a popular plant in homes and gardens around the country. But while this palm is an eye-catching addition to any space, it's also extremely dangerous for our canine companions.

Sago palm is highly toxic to dogs. This plant contains multiple toxins, including cycasin, which leads to liver failure and can be fatal. As a result, any dog that has ingested sago palm must be taken to a veterinarian immediately for emergency treatment.

Unfortunately, most pet parents are generally unaware of the toxicity of this plant until it's too late. Poisoning cases are especially common in spring and summer when pups and their people are outdoors.

Sago palm poisoning results in a range of symptoms, starting with gastrointestinal upset and progressing to serious central nervous system signs until the dog ultimately develops liver failure. Without prompt treatment, sago palm poisoning in dogs can be fatal, which means it's vital that you seek immediate veterinary attention if your dog consumes any part of a sago palm.

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Sago Palm Poisoning Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$5,000

Symptoms of Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

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

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Causes of Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

A member of the cycad family, the sago palm grows in tropical and subtropical climates but is also quite popular as an indoor houseplant and for use in outdoor landscaping.

Sago palm poisoning is caused by ingestion of the plant, which contains multiple toxic compounds. While all parts of the plant are dangerous to dogs, the seeds are particularly toxic and are the part of the sago palm that many pets tend to eat.

Sago palm contains the toxin cycasin, which can irritate the gastrointestinal tract and cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. If the dog doesn't receive treatment, neurological signs like ataxia and seizures will develop along with liver failure. Sadly, sago palm poisoning can be fatal, so seeking emergency veterinary treatment is essential to ensuring a good prognosis.

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Diagnosis of Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

If you suspect that your dog has ingested any part of the sago palm plant, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Diagnosis without proof of ingestion is difficult and tends to rely on the symptoms alone. If you aren't sure whether your dog has consumed part of the plant, your veterinarian will run blood and urine tests to confirm that the liver has been impacted.

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Treatment of Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

Due to the high fatality rate of sago palm poisoning in dogs, aggressive treatment is vital for dogs that have ingested any part of this plant. A veterinarian will typically induce vomiting an injection such as Apomoprhine (or less commonly, using hydrogen peroxide or ipecac) while activated charcoal may also be given to your dog to soak up any of the poison internally.

If liver damage has occurred, liver protectants, 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.

Sago palm poisoning can be expensive to treat. To protect your dog from serious illness, start searching for pet insurance today. Wag!’s pet insurance comparison tool lets you compare plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Embrace. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Worried about the cost of Sago Palm Poisoning treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Recovery of Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, the survival rate for dogs with sago palm poisoning — even with aggressive treatment — is approximately 50%.

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.

You can also protect your pet by removing all sago palms from your home and yard along with all other toxic plants. And if you're traveling with your dog, particularly if you're visiting a warmer climate, make sure you can identify sago palms and keep your pet well away from them.

Want to find out more about common household and garden plants that are toxic to dogs? Use Wag! Vet Chat to get the lowdown online from a veterinary professional.

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Cost of Sago Palm Poisoning in Dogs

The cost of treating sago palm poisoning in dogs depends on how quickly the dog receives treatment and how much of the plant they ingested.

Emergency veterinary services are, by default, more expensive than regular services. If your dog requires multiple days of hospitalization, including overnight care, the total cost of poisoning can run to thousands of dollars. If the dog has limited exposure and only needs activated charcoal and general monitoring, the treatment cost can be as low as a few hundred dollars.

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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

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Molly

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Pit bull

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16 Months

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

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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0 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

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5 Months

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

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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1 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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Sago Palm Poisoning Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$5,000

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