Popular Plant Really a Pet Killer

Photo: Leia, the Barrios family dog died after ingesting sago palm.
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By: Gina Pitisci

It happened to a local family, and it could also happen to yours. Their dog died after ingesting part of a popular plant used for landscaping in our area.

"I knew the prognosis was not going to be good," Damaris Barrios, Pet Owner, said. "She was in the hospital for a week and in that week I saw a happy, healthy, vibrant dog, deteriorate before my eyes."

Leia was an 8 year old golden retriever who was part of the Barrios family.

She ate part of a sago palm which according to veterinarians is extremely poisonous to animals and humans.

"Most of these guys will start throwing up within the first few hours and we can see them go into liver failure in as little as 3 to 5 hours, sometimes longer sometimes less," Kathleen Cavell, DVM, Northwood Animal Hospital, said.

Sago palm ingestion by pets has risen by over 200 percent in the last five years.

Pet owners and parents like Damaris Barrios want others to know the danger of toxic plants so what happened to her doesn't happen to others.

"I wanted my kids to grow up loving her as much as I did and now they won't get that chance just because we didn't know about the Sago Palm," Barrios said.

Unfortunately, the animal poison control center estimates a 50 to 70 percent fatality rate if sago palms are ingested, so, if your pet eats seeds or even a small amount of the plant, it is recommended that you should bring the animal to your veterinarian immediately, even if it is not showing signs of being sick.

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