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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.

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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

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

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Molly

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Pit bull

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16 Months

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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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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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Moderate severity

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1 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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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

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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