AGAVE PLANTS & PETS

Agave-plants-and -pets

AGAVE PLANTS & PETS

Agave-plants-and -pets

Agave are a genus of succulents that contain more than 200 species in the flowering plant family Agavaceae. Characterised by their large, basal rosettes of thick fleshy leaves typically with a sharp terminal point, Agave are common ornamental plants found in many Australian gardens. Agave species have had many uses over the centuries, with the pina (base or heart of the plant) being used to create agave syrup as well as alcohols such as tequila and mezcal. The Animal Poisons Helpline is frequently contacted about companion animals that ingest plants in this genus, particularly the Agave americana (commonly known as the century plant) which grows throughout much of Australia.

Agave species that have sharp terminal spines are notorious for causing mechanical injury and following ingestion can result in trauma to the gastrointestinal tract. A. americana (and probably other Agave species) have been reported to contain microscopic needle-like structures which cause an immediate burning sensation when chewed or ingested by animals. Additionally, if large quantities of the fibrous pulp are ingested there is a potential risk of gastrointestinal blockage. Selected Agave species may also contain compounds called sapogenins, which have been associated with inflammation and blockage of the gallbladder in some animal species.

Whilst companion animals that ingest Agave plant material are unlikely to develop life-threatening effects, veterinary assessment may be recommended in selected cases. Pet insurance provides peace of mind and protection in the event that your pet eats something it should not have. The Animal Poisons Helpline is proudly sponsored by Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance, who are currently offering two months free pet insurance in the first year of coverage for Helpline followers. Visit bowwowinsurance.com.au/poisons for more info and enter promo code AP368 at checkout to take advantage of this offer.

If your pet has ingested something they should not have, please phone the Animal Poisons Helpline for advice. The Animal Poisons Helpline provides free advice to pet owners in Australia and New Zealand and can be reached on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ).