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A Wisconsin woman is urging pet owners to be mindful when purchasing certain household plants, following the death of her dog.
Kate Wagner took to social media to issue a warning after her beloved french bulldog, Lily, ingested part of a common houseplant, the Sago Palm.
“This is going to be a very difficult story to tell, but I feel compelled to share this information,” Wagner wrote in a May 6 post to Facebook. “This past week has been an extremely difficult journey for us. Our sweet baby Lily got into one of my houseplants and ended up fighting for her life at the emergency vet for nearly a week. She is now home with a feeding tube and a medication schedule that spans from 7 a.m. until 12 a.m. daily. There have been many tears shed, dollars spent, and guilt felt... all because of a $5 plant.”
According to Wagner, the plant was purchased last summer and did not contain any kind of warning label stating it was poisonous to pets.
“I’d like to spread the word about this houseplant because I had no idea when I purchased it from a big box garden centre last summer that this little six-inch plant would become my nightmare,” she continued.
The Sago Palm (also known as cycas revoluta) is a popular, slow-growing indoor and outdoor plant native to southern Japan. Although the Sago Palm looks appealing aesthetically, it is considered one of the most toxic plants for dogs and other household animals. While every part of the Sago Palm is dangerous to animals, its seeds are particularly harmful and can cause severe liver damage within 15 minutes of ingestion.
In a May 16 update, Wagner shared the heartbreaking news that Lily had died.
“Lily passed away in our arms,” Wagner wrote. “She fought hard, loved hard, and gave us a couple butt wiggles just before she just couldn’t fight any longer. We loved her so very much and gave her all the love and care in the weeks since the incident we could possibly give. We are truly devastated.”
Wagner’s post, which had been shared more than 375,000 times, became a warning for all pet owners to do their research on the kinds of plants that can be harmful to their four-legged family members.
“If you are a houseplant lover, please research your house plants prior to purchasing. Even if you think the house plant is in a secure location, mischievous little paws may still get into trouble,” Wagner cautioned. “Feel free to share this story. You may just save a life.”
Warning signs of Sago Palm poisoning
Signs and symptoms of poisoning can occur within minutes and can cause severe liver failure. Vomiting, diarrhea, blood in feces, lack of appetite, nose bleeds, lack of energy, abdominal pain, frequent or increased drinking and urinating as well as yellow coloured skin and gums, seizures, walking in circles, paralysis, unconsciousness or accumulation of fluid in the abdomen are all symptoms of plant poisoning, and require immediate veterinary medical attention.
Click here for a complete list of plants that are toxic to animals.