AUSTIN, Texas — An urgent warning for dog owners: a plant that is common in Central Texas because of its heat and drought resistance, can be fatal for your pets.
Honey and Sammy are the beloved furry members of the Siegel family. Recently, the two playful pups endured the fight of their lives.
"This wasn't a normal dog sickness scenario,” said owner Mike Siegel. “The dogs were clearly in a distressed state."
Siegel said after hours of persistent vomiting, he and his wife rushed their dogs to an emergency vet clinic.
"The vet brought up, 'Hey, do you have a certain kind of tree or plant in your backyard called a sago palm?’” said Siegel.
Sago palms are common for their resistance to drought and heat, but they can also be deadly for dogs.
"If a pet has ingested any portion of a sago palm, whether they're showing symptoms or not, they must be treated,” said Dr. Lindsay Vaughn, a veterinarian at Austin Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center.
Veterinarians say the entire sago palm is dangerous for dogs, but the part that's most deadly is the seed of the plant, which attracts dogs because of its close resemblance to a chew toy.
"The red seed that is part of the plant itself can look like a ball or a very nice chew toy, so that is often the most common area that's chewed on the plant," Dr. Vaughn said.
Sago palm poisoning can cause severe liver damage for dogs, and can be fatal if left untreated.
"Unfortunately it's not something that they just eat it, they're treated, they go home and they're back to normal,” said Dr. Vaughn. “It can leave long term consequences."
Veterinarians urge pet owners to be on alert even if they do not have the plant on their property since sago palms are so prevalent in the area.