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The Dangers Of Cycads

The Dangers of Cycads

Attention all owners of lovable plant chewers!

Lots of plants in the garden can cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms in dogs that eat them but one plant family in particular can lead to serious illness and death: Cycads.

Meet Iris, a gorgeous puppy who was presented to Dr Kathryn for vaccination. Her owners reported that she had vomited multiple times the previous day but seemed ok that morning. On further questioning it was revealed that the owners had been gardening and they were sure Iris had eaten part of a cycad they had pulled out.

Iris spent 3 days in the 24 hour care facility at Carrara receiving a series of antoxidant injections, gastrointestinal support and intravenous fluids. She made an uneventful recovery and was finally able to have her vaccinations.

Cycads are common on the Gold Coast. Ingestion of a tiny amount of any part of the plant not only causes immediate vomiting but the plant is also extremely toxic to the liver. There is a 50-80% mortality rate in dogs that eat cycads. Survivors may go on to suffer from chronic liver failure.

There is no test to prove cycad toxicity, but if you suspect your dog has ingested even a small amount of a cycad you should seek veterinary advice immediately. Early appropriate supportive care improves the chance of survival so it is better to treat suspected cases because once liver failure occurs it is too late.