Most pet owners know that certain items, like chocolate, can be harmful to your dog.
But there's one thing that could be found in your backyard or in your neighborhood that could actually be deadly for your pet.
It's called the "Sago palm," and can be toxic to your animal. The leaves and seeds can cause severe damage to an animal's liver, and can even cause death.
One Peoria man learned the dangers of that plant the hard way after his beloved dog was poisoned by a Sago palm.
Jay Steitz says the Sago palm is a staple in his Peoria neighborhood. But it proved to be deadly to his little dog, Finn.
Steitz says Finn somehow got ahold of some seeds from the plant. The dog ingested the seeds and almost immediately started showing symptoms.
At first, Finn was just lethargic and had vomiting and diarrhea . But when the family took him to the vet, they were stunned to learn their Sago palm was to blame.
According to the Pet Poison Helpline website, the "Sago palm contains cycasin, which is the primary active toxic agent resulting in severe liver failure in dogs. Ingestion results in acute gastrointestinal signs (e.g., drooling, inappetence, vomiting, diarrhea) within 15 minutes to several hours after ingestion. Central nervous system signs (e.g., weakness, ataxia, seizures, tremors, etc.) and severe liver failure can be seen within 2-3 days post-ingestion. Clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, inappetence, abnormal fluid accumulation in the abdomen, abdominal pain, jaundice, and black-tarry stool. Aggressive decontamination and treatment should be initiated. Even with aggressive treatment, the survival is about 50 percent."
Little Finn didn't survive the poisoning. And now the family hopes his tragic loss will serve as a lesson for other pet owners.
The plant is sold in many stores. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says it does not have a regulation requiring warning labels on house plants. Many stores do post a warning on these plants, but there are some stores which do not.
The ASPCA offers information online about toxic and non-toxic plants and their effects on animals.
The ASPCA also offers a 24-hour emergency poison hotline: 1-888-426-4435.
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