Veterinarian spreads word about plants toxic to pets

Some can cause kidney, liver failure

JUNO BEACH, Fla. - Curious and playful are the best words to describe little Staffordshire Terrier named "Blue". His owner admits it's hard to keep him away from anything.

"He's young and he chews on everything, so it's definitely difficult," says Mariah Ward, Blue's owner.

Ward had no idea if the three-month-old puppy gnawed on a sago palm in her house, it could be deadly.

"I've never heard that before actually. It scares me more because I think, what else do I not know that can make him really sick?" says Ward.

Veterinarian Nancy DiMarco says it comes as a surprise to pet owners to keep dogs and cats away from the plant.

"If it's in the backyard where my dog ran around and my kids played I'd say dig it up and move it, it's just not worth it," says Dr. DiMarco.

The leaves and berries of a sago palm is toxic for dogs and cats if ingested.

"The toxin gets into the gastro-intestinal track and shuts down the liver," says Dr. DiMarco.

The lily you may have picked up for Mothers' Day could be fatal for your feline. It's on the top ten most poisonous plants list according to the Animal Poison Control Service.

"Increased thirst and urination because the kidney function isn't ideal and then nausea and vomiting and loss of appetite, just feeling rotten," says Dr. DiMarco.

Cats may not show symptoms for days, which is dangerous.

"By the time your start to seek help, their kidneys could be too far gone to recover from," says Dr. DiMarco.

Dr. DiMarco suggests getting the lilies out of your house. She says if your cat gets ahold of any part of this plant - the pollen, petals or leaves, it could be life-threatening for your cat, or even fatal.

"Having cut flowers safe from a cat is extremely difficult, because cats will do almost anything to get to what it is they want," says Dr. DiMarco.

DiMarco says she sees a couple cases every year where pets were exposed to the lily or sago palm. Although they make nice gifts, few owners know they're a hazard.

"Now I will not bring Easter lilies in the house either," says Steve Waldman, who has owned dogs and cats.

"I'd feel horrible if there was something I didn't research, and it made him sick. There's no way I could live with that," says Ward.

TOP HAZARDOUS PLANTS: (According to Pet Poison Hotline)

Autumn Crocus







Lily of the Valley

Sago Palm

Tulips and Hyacinths

For more on a list of hazardous plants head to:


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