15 Jun Sago Palms & Other Cycads
Did you know that Sago palms and other cycads are highly toxic to dogs? Many dog owners that have cycads growing in their garden are not aware until it is too late. The Animal Poisons Centre has recently been involved in the management of several unfortunate cases of Sago palm poisoning. We believe this post serves as a timely reminder that the most effective treatment is prevention.
Cycads contain a toxin called cycasin, which is broken down by bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract to methylazoxymethanol (MAM for short!). MAM is responsible for most of the toxic effects seen in cycad poisonings.
Ingestion of any part of the plant can result in poisoning. The seeds are particularly toxic, and ingestion of even small quantities can result in severe poisoning or death. Signs of poisoning include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, drowsiness, weakness, coma, seizures, and liver failure.
Whilst there is no specific antidote for cycad poisoning, seeking urgent veterinary assessment can be lifesaving. Timely veterinary assessment will allow your veterinarian to consider therapies that reduce toxin absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. The provision of supportive therapies such as intravenous fluids, stomach protectants, liver protectants and anti-seizure medications may be required.
If you are a dog owner and have a Sago Palm or any other cycads growing in your garden, consider removing the plant or at least restricting access to it.
If your pet has eaten something they should not have, you can call the Animal Poisons Centre on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ). Our service is free for all pet owners.