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Sago Palm Toxicity

Cycad Sago Palm is extremely poisonous to both humans and animals if ingested. Pets are at particular risk since they seem to find the plant very palatable. Clinical symptoms of ingestion will develop within 12 hours and may include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, seizures, liver failure, or hepatotoxicity characterized by icterus (yellow coloration), cirrhosis, and ascites (fluid in abdomen). The pet may appear bruised, have nose bleeds (epistaxis), melena (blood in the stool), hematochezia (bloody straining), and hemarthrosis (blood in the joints).

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435) estimates a fatality rate of 50 to 75 percent when ingestion of the Sago Palm is involved. The incidence of Sago Palm ingestion by pets has risen by over 200″/0 in the last five years.-If any quantity of the plant is ingested, a poison control center or doctor should be contacted immediately. Effects of ingestion can include permanent internal damage and death.

All parts of the plant are toxic; however, the seeds contain the highest level of the toxin cycasin which causes gastrointestinal irritation, and in high enough doses, leads to liver failure. Other toxins include Betamethylamino L-alanine, and a neurotoxic amino acid.

 

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