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What Pet Parents Can Do Because the odds of survival after the acci- dental ingestion of any of the parts of the Sago Palm are dangerously low, pet owners must be diligent in protecting their pets at home and out and about in their communities. There are several crit- ical steps that pet own- ers can take to prevent Sago Palm poisoning: • If you have a fenced-in yard in
Headquartered in Florida, Costa Farms is not only one of the world’s biggest horticultural growers, but the Miami-based enterprise also is the major supplier for many of the home and garden stores throughout the country. Warning information about the toxicity of Sago Palms is included on the farm’s website, www.costafarms.com – but only if you click on “Learn More” in the plant’s listing. Sadly, that potentially life-saving information is not included on the plant labels, in the stores and If a pet owner suspects that his/her dog or cat has eaten any part of the Sago Palm, a “wait-and-see” approach to watch for symptoms could be fatal. Experts report that when symptoms actually begin to manifest, it may already be too late to save your pet! Possible symptoms of Sago Palm poisoning—which can appear in as little as 15 minutes or up to 12 hours later—may include: garden centers or passed along to the consumer. Emergency Veterinary Care is Critical
which your pets can roam freely, remove all Sago Palms from your property.
• Bruising/Easy Bleeding • Increased Thirst • Jaundice (Yellowing of the Eyes, Gums and/or Skin)
• Vomiting • Diarrhea • Bloody or Black, Tar-Like Stool • Drooling • Increased Urination • Loss of Appetite • Depression • Lethargy • Seizures • Abdominal Fluid • Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis • Impaired Clot Formation
Above: Kate, Alex and Mac welcome their new pup, Frankie, who was generously given to the couple by Sunshine Kennels in Lebanon, Missouri. Photo courtesy of Kate Wagner
• Be especially vigilant when walking your dogs in your neighborhood to be certain that they don’t stop and chew on any plants. • Keep your dogs on a short leash while out walking so they are always within close proximity to you so you can monitor their behavior at all times. • Do your research before purchasing indoor plants, even if you place your plants in an area that cannot be accessed by pets. Keep in mind that Kate’s indoor Sago Palm sat on a table she thought was safely out of reach for nearly a year before Lily somehow reached the plant and chewed it to pieces. While Kate, Alex and Mac are still grieving the loss of Lily 6 months after she passed, there is, Kate claims, a “silver lining” to the horrific ordeal the Wisconsin family endured. "After reading Lily’s story online, Sunshine Kennels in Lebanon, Missouri, contacted me and gifted us a 4-month-old French Bulldog puppy that we named Frankie,” Kate says. “The owners gave us the best gift of hope – a new little brother for Mac. “Frankie has been a lifesaver for all of us, especially Mac, who was so depressed after losing Lily,” Kate adds. Another unexpected—and much appreciated—gift the couple re- ceived was a tree dedicated to Lily through the Arbor Day Foundation in one of Northern Wisconsin's national forests by the veterinarians and vet techs at the emergency hospital that had treated the pup. Sharing Lily’s Story For Kate, Lily’s passing was “an extremely difficult story to tell,” but she shared it on Facebook to help prevent other pet owners from experiencing the same heartbreak. Her post, published May 6, 2020, went viral, with 199,000 views, 512,000 shares and 112,000 comments. “I felt compelled to share this information,” Kate wrote. “I’d like to spread the word about this houseplant because I had no idea when I purchased it from a big box garden center last summer that this little 6-inch plant would become my nightmare.” It is Kate’s hope that you will take her words to heart to prevent Sago Palm poisoning from becoming your family’s nightmare, too.
• Liver Damage • Liver Failure • Depression • Neurological Issues,
Including Circling, Seizures and Paralysis
• Coma • Death
Diagnosis & Treatment The diagnosis and/or treatment of a dog or cat that has ingested any part of the Sago Palm often begins with blood work and a urinalysis that will indicate if there are any signs of liver damage. The ultimate goal of treatment, reports The Spruce Pet, is to eliminate the toxin as quickly as possible. According to Pet MD (www.petmd.com), if your pet is asymp- tomatic when he or she arrives at the emergency veterinary clin- ic, vomiting may be induced, using ipecac, hydrogen peroxide or apomorphine to eliminate the toxin. Activated charcoal given to absorb the toxin in the stomach also may be used, and, in some cases, the veterinarian may pump the pet’s stomach. Medication to instantly empty the bowels might also be adminis- tered. If blood and urine tests show evidence of liver disease, the online medical resource reports that additional therapies, including blood or plasma transfusions and/or intravenous fluids, may be necessary to combat the toxin. In all probability, pets will be given a range of medications, includ- ing anti-vomiting drugs, gastrointestinal protectants, anti-seizure medications and antibiotics, as well as Vitamins K and E. During Lily’s medical ordeal, the pup was on eight different medications, in addition to her two IV tubes. “Every day, we were giving Lily her medications on a set schedule that began early in the morning and ended at midnight,” Kate says. “We did absolutely everything we could to help Lily survive.” If pets who have ingested any part of the Sago Palm do not receive emergency treatment, they will suffer acute liver failure that can be accompanied by shock and massive hemorrhaging that will quickly prove to be fatal.
36 | January/February 2021 | www.SuncoastPet.com
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