Consumer Investigations

Common Lowcountry plants cause emergency vet visits for pets

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCBD) -- Some of the plants you have in your yard may be animal killers. Many plants are blooming right now in the spring, and they are leaving behind leaves and seeds that can harm pets.

The Sago Palm is one example. It sent Stephen Futeral’s Japanese Chin puppies to the emergency vet this week.

“The ice and snow turned all the [Sago Palm] fronds brown … after we cleaned those, there were seeds on the ground, and the puppies must have went and chewed on them,” Futeral said.

“We had no idea how incredibly toxic they are,” he said.

Widget and Echo are the two 7-month-old puppies who started vomiting after playing in the backyard. Futeral had seen one of the pups bring a Sago Palm seed into the garage.

“Which then put them at the emergency vet for some pretty intensive care, like plasma transfusions, all kind of drugs, to try and get their little livers back into shape,” Futeral said.

Veterinarians say there are other popular plants that could cause an emergency vet visit for your pet, such as Tulips, Azaleas, Lilies, Elephant Ears, and Holly.

The entire Sago Palm plant is toxic to animals, but the seeds are the most dangerous. The toxins cause liver failure, which then moves to other organs.

If you choose to remove a Sago Palm from your yard, veterinarians say the entire plant, even the stump and roots, must be removed.  

"When they're big and in bloom, the dogs don't really mess with them, because they're spikey,” said Futeral. “But, as soon as they start clearing them and you see the seeds ... They’re fatal.”

For a detailed list of plants that are dangerous for pets, click here.

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