Before Molly Tuttle’s dog, Sydney, suddenly became ill, Tuttle had never even heard of Sago palm. Only after her vet asked about the plant, trying to determine the cause of Sydney’s vomiting and lethargy, did Tuttle realize that her Dallas backyard had Sago palms planted by the previous owner. Hours before Sydney grew ill, Tuttle had seen her dog chewing on a Sago palm root and took it away from her. Despite intensive medical care, Sydney died two weeks later.
Sydney is just one of countless pets poisoned by ingesting Sago palm, a popular decorative plant commonly sold without any warnings about its toxicity. And Sago palm is among more than 700 plants that have been identified as poisonous (meaning they produce physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals).
Poisonous plants may cause reactions ranging from mild nausea to death. Certain animal species may have a peculiar vulnerability to a potentially poisonous plant. Cats, for instance, are poisoned by any part of a lily.
If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic substance, contact your local veterinarian immediately or call the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poison hotline at 1-888-426-4435.