When cats consume or chew on a deadly plant from the Sago palm family, they get Sago palm poisoning. Zamias, coontie palms, cycads, and cardboard palms are all members of this family. Poisoning from plants can result in liver failure and death.
To cats, every component of the sago palm is extremely toxic, with the seeds or nuts being the most lethal. The plant contains cycasin, a poisonous chemical that causes liver failure in cats.
What is Sago Palm?
Sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is a gymnosperm plant native to southern Japan, including the Ryukyu Islands. It’s one of several species used to make sago, as well as a decorative plant. A thick layer of fibers on the stem of the sago cycad distinguishes it from other cycads. Although the main similarity between the two is that they both produce seeds, the sago cycad is occasionally mistaken for a palm. The leaves begin as little leaves towards the plant’s center and grow from the trunk.
This symmetrical plant has a crown of lustrous, dark green leaves that are supported by a thick, shaggy trunk that is normally 20 cm (7.9 in) in diameter, but can be wider. In young plants, the trunk is very low to subterranean, but it grows longer above ground as the plant matures. It can grow to be quite ancient specimens with trunks of 6–7 m (nearly 20 feet); nevertheless, the plant grows slowly and takes 50–100 years to reach this height. Trunks can branch many times, resulting in multiple leaf heads.
Clinical Signs of Sago Palm Poisoning in Cats
In the worst-case situation, sago palm poisoning can cause severe liver damage and death. Ingesting even a small amount of poison might result in symptoms such as:
- Bloody feces
- Increased thirst
- Increased Urination
- Signs of weakness
- Abdominal pain
- Fluid retention in the abdomen
The cat’s liver, like the human liver, aids in the digestion of food and the elimination of poisons and waste. Other organs can shut down if liver injury or disease is not treated quickly.
First Aid and Treatment of Sago Palm Poisoning in Cats
There is no antidote for the cycasin found in the Sago Palm. The method of treatment used by veterinarians will be determined by how long it has been since the intake. Among them are, inducing vomiting to remove as much of the sago palm from your cat’s stomach as possible before it is absorbed; If your cat isn’t vomiting yet, give him activated charcoal, which binds to poisons and carries them out of the system unabsorbed.
Treatment options include anti-nausea, anti-seizure, abdominal fluid removal, vitamin K injections, and other liver failure treatments.
Recovery from Sago Palm Poisoning in Cats
The survival rate for cats who have eaten sago palm is only around 50%, even with vigorous treatment.
If the treatment is effective, ongoing follow-up care to monitor the liver’s condition may be required. Your cat may require a specific diet, and you’ll need to keep an eye out for any signs of liver damage or neurological problems. If the cat has already consumed toxic Sago palm plant components and therapy is unlikely to be effective, efforts to make the cat comfortable until death may be made, or humane euthanasia may be recommended.
Prevention of Sago Palms Poisoning in Cats
For cats, dogs, and horses, sago palms are exceedingly toxic. Sadly, many people are unaware of this, including some landscapers. If you have cats, keep sago palms out of your house and yard.
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