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Poisonous Palms

Many Palms are Poison for pets!

source: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

Excerpts taken from a story by Ed Cullen

Frederic Gaschen and Leslie McLaughlin (2 vets from LSU) have done a five-year, retrospective study of almost 50 dogs poisoned by Sago palms.

The Vets found a mortality rate of about 60 percent.

“There is a common misconception that it’s just the seed,” Ferguson said. “They do have a higher concentration (of toxins), and they’re said to be very sweet. It’s been known for a while that it’s the whole plant.” The LSU study found that an animal’s size doesn’t mater in surviving the poison.

Within a couple hours, pets will throw up and become lethargic. Some pets even go into seizures and vomiting must be induced by a Veterinarian. In many cases long lasting complications occur due to ingestion of some palms, including liver failure.


  • In 2009 there were 7,858 calls to the Animal Poison Control Center.

ASPCA’s list of 17 plants listed as poisonous to animals (in no specific order)

  1. Lilies
  2. Marijuana
  3. Sago palm
  4. Tulip/narcissus bulbs
  5. Azalea/rhododendron
  6. Oleander
  7. Casto bean
  8. Cyclamen
  9. Kalanchoe
  10. Yew
  11. Amaryllis
  12. Autumn crocus
  13. Chrysanthemum
  14. English ivy
  15. Peace lily
  16. Pothos
  17. Scheffiera

The ASPCA and Vets say that homeowners should know that the Sago palms contain the poison cycasin which takes form as cycad. The sago palm is used extensively in outdoor landscaping in the southern states and used as houseplants in the north.

What should you do if your pet is poisoned?

  • Don’t Panic
  • Take 30 to 60 seconds to collect and have at hand any material involved (product container and in a seal able plastic bag any vomit or chewed items).
  • If you witness your pet consuming material that you suspect might be toxic, seek emergency assistance, even if you do not notice any adverse effects. Sometimes, even if poisoned, an animal may appear normal for several hours or for days after the incident.
  • Call the ASPCA (888) 426-4435. There is a $65 consultation fee for the service.
  • Be ready with such vital information as species, age, sex, etc.: product container/packaging for reference.
  • Note: If the animal is having seizures, losing consciousness or is having difficulty breathing, phone ahead and bring your pet immediately to your vet or emergency vet clinic.
  • Always keep the ASPCA number and that of your local vet in a prominent location.

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