An edited transcript is available below: 

What I want to talk to you about today is about sago palms. This is a toxicity, which is actually a really scary toxicity, because sago palms are all around San Diego. They’re here and are a nice decorative landscaping plant. They are kind of a short squat little stubby thing, and they’re nice. The problem is, you don’t really have a warning that they are as toxic as they are when you buy them. You might have also moved into a house that just has them there or is part of other landscaping that is on your walk around the block. I want to tell you about it so you can be aware of it and make sure that you avoid this thing at all costs. And, if it’s in your house, I would honestly recommend ripping it out of the ground and getting rid of it because it is just not worth the risk. 

Sago palms are toxic to not only dogs, but also cats and people. Young children could even eat one of these seeds and potentially get really sick from it. Every part of the palm tree is toxic. There’s nothing non-toxic about it. But the most toxic part is the seed. If a medium-sized dog eats one seed they can potentially die from that little exposure. They’ll start out with mild signs and may just salivate or they might vomit, have diarrhea, or you think it is just a mild reaction. However, if they’re showing that, which can happen in as little as 15 minutes after exposure, that’s going to progress into something more. What happens with sago palm toxicity is that it shuts down your liver and it’s really hard to recover from that. There’s no specific diagnostic for sago palm toxicity. I can’t run any blood test to tell you exactly that it is sago palm. What we’ll just see is that they’ll potentially be bleeding, maybe a bloody nose, bloody mouth, they’ll turn yellow (they’re getting jaundiced), or they’ll just be extremely sick. Unfortunately there’s no known antidote for it either. It’s all supportive care. 

So if you notice that your dog or your cat or your human family member has come in contact with sago palms, you’re going to want to get them in as soon as possible to an emergency clinic, or if we’re open during the day, you can bring them into us. We need to make them vomit, we need to give them activated charcoal, we need to try to get that stuff out of their system and bind up any of that toxin that’s still in there. From there it’s supportive care, supportive care, supportive care. The goal is to try to flush out their system as quickly as possible and minutes matter here. So take this very seriously. It’s something that I don’t think a lot of people are really aware of, but it’s everywhere. And the more you look for it you’ll see it. So, just be really careful around it.

 If you have any questions about that at all, please don’t hesitate to call, we’re here in both Encinitas and Carlsbad. I’m Dr. Evans, till next time.