Austin Veterinarian Warns Pet Owners About Sago Palm Plants

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| Source: Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin

AUSTIN, Texas, April 27, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- An Austin veterinarian is warning Texas pet owners to keep pets from consuming a toxic plant. Veterinary criticalist Dr. Scott Johnson says that many household and outdoor plants that pet owners have in or around their homes are harmless to animals, and many pet owners don't think twice about their pets coming into contact with dangerous foliage. The veterinarian says that most domestic animals don't consider outdoor or household plants appetizing, however, there are some plants - like the sago palm - that are very toxic to animals and should be avoided at all costs just in case an animal takes interest.

Sago palm is an especially dangerous plant for pets because many owners aren't aware that it is deadly poisonous to animals, says Austin veterinarian Dr. Scott Johnson of Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin. The veterinarian cautions that nurseries aren't legally required to advertise which plants might be toxic to pets, and homeowners can easily purchase a dangerous plant without realizing what could happen if their animals were to come into contact with it.

"We've seen cases of sago palm poisoning that are just heartbreaking," says Dr. Johnson. "Owners really aren't tracing their pets' strange behavior back to a plant that has been in their yard for years. By the time we see the animals, it's sometimes too late."

Sago palms are short, squat plants from the Cyad family, and aren't considered "true" palms. They contain a chemical called cycasin, which can be deadly to animals when ingested. Common symptoms of this type of poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea, lethargy, reduced appetite, jaundice, pain, and black or tarry looking stools. While ingesting any part of the plant is toxic to animals, the seeds or nuts of the plant contain the highest concentration of cycasin and are the most dangerous.

If a pet owner suspects that a pet has ingested sago palm, Dr. Johnson says it is essential to contact an Austin veterinarian as quickly as possible. "Immediate treatment is key to saving the life of a pet. Don't wait to see if the symptoms pass or resolve themselves. If you have sago palm in or near your home and your pet becomes symptomatic, contact us right away." Johnson warns. "Prevention is also key," the veterinarian continues. "If you have pets and have sago palms nearby, it's a good idea to simply have them removed."

Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin can perform a thorough examination of a pet in the event that the owner has reason to believe the animal has ingested any potentially poisonous plant. The clinic has emergency and critical care facilities in both in north and south Austin, offering services that include radiology, pet surgery, and pet ultrasound.

Emergency Animal Hospital of Northwest Austin
1-888-667-5235