Sago Palms Can Poison Your Cat

Your cat Charlie is definitely a chewer, and you never know what he’ll target next. Sometimes Charlie works on wayward socks, and switches to your throw pillows when the socks lose their appeal. Charlie’s especially attracted to household plants, which is unfortunate as some of them can cause toxic reactions if he eats them. While you’ve moved your plants to an off-limits room, your yard probably contains sago palms, one of the biggest threats to Charlie’s health. If he eats the sago palm’s leaves, he can experience severe liver damage and can potentially die from ingestion. If you see Charlie chomping on a sago palm leaf, get him to your Jensen Beach veterinarian for immediate treatment.


Ingestion Symptoms

After Charlie chews on a sago palm, he might vomit, become very thirsty, and urinate quite a bit. He might also develop bloody diarrhea, and his gums and skin can display a yellowish coloration. He might bruise or bleed more easily, too. Charlie’s neurological system can also be affected, causing him to start circling, develop seizures, or even become paralyzed. Charlie can eventually lapse into a coma and die from sago palm poisoning.


Symptom Source

Charlie’s alarming symptoms result from liver damage caused by cycasin, a dangerous toxin contained in sago palm leaves. The resulting liver disease frequently results in abnormal bleeding and nervous system malfunctions.


Diagnostic Process

Your observations can be a valuable diagnostic tool. Once your vet knows Charlie has been chewing on sago palm leaves, he’ll combine that information with blood and urine test results. Most likely, he’ll conclude that Charlie has liver disease.


Treatment Procedures

If Charlie has gotten to the vet before showing any symptoms, your vet might induce vomiting using ipecac or hydrogen peroxide. Your vet might give Charlie activated charcoal to absorb the poison in his stomach; or he’ll pump your cat’s stomach to remove the toxic contents. If Charlie’s symptoms and/or test results indicate liver disease, your vet will likely give Charlie blood or plasma transfusions, along with fluid therapy. At this point, your vet will work to prevent Charlie’s vomiting, and will perhaps provide antibiotics and other medications as well.


While your Jensen Beach vet can spring into action to treat Charlie quickly, banishing the sago palms from your yard eliminates Charlie’s temptation, and removes a potentially fatal health hazard.

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