Sago Palm

Sago Palm

Pictured: Sago Palm

Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs

Level of toxicity: Severe

Common signs to watch for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Inappetance
  • Abnormal fluid accumulation in the abdomen
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice
  • Black-tarry stool

Sago palms are naturally found in tropical/subtropical environments; they are also used as ornamental Bonsai houseplants. These palms are members of the Order Cycadacae; genera Cycads, Macrozamia, and Zamias. Examples of the cycad family include Cycad (Cycas cirinalis), Japanese cycad (Cycad revolute), Coontie plant (Zamia pumila), and Cardbord palm (Zamia furfuracea). All parts of sago palm are considered poisonous, with the seeds (nuts) being the most toxic part of the plant. 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, inappetance, 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, inappetance, 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%.

If you suspect your dog or cat ate sago palm, call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately for life-saving treatment recommendations.

Poison type: plants

Alternate names: Cycads, Cycadaceae, sago, Zamias, Macrozamia, Cycas cirinalis, Japanese cycad, Cycad revolute, Coontie plant, Zamia pumila, Cardbord palm, Zamia furfuracea