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French bulldog dies in owner's arms after eating common houseplant

A woman has issued a warning to pet owners about the toxicity of a common houseplant, after her French bulldog died in her arms.

Kate Wagner shared the story of her ‘sweet baby Lily’ on Facebook to urge people to take caution when choosing houseplants.

Her French bulldog ate some leaves from a sago palm – also known as a cycas revoluta plant and cardboard palm – and ended up fighting for her life at the emergency vet.

After days of using a feeding tube, expensive treatment, and a strict medication schedule, Lily died in Kate’s arms on Saturday 16 May – all due to consuming part of a plant that many will unthinkingly have in their homes.

The sago palm, naturally found in tropical environments but recently popularised as bonsai-style houseplants, is highly toxic to both cats and dogs due to containing cycasin, an agent that can cause severe liver failure.

Ingestion of the leaves, roots, or seeds can result in drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea, followed by central nervous system failures, shown by weakness, seizures, and tremors.

Kate shared her story on Facebook, writing: ‘Alright folks, this is going to be a very difficult story to tell, but I feel compelled to share this information. This past week has been an extremely difficult journey for us.

Signs of poisoning in dogs:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Twitching, fitting, seizures
  • Pale gums
  • Dark stools
  • Changes in eating or drinking
  • Extreme lethargy

‘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 AM until 12 AM daily. There have been many tears shed, dollars spent, and guilt felt… all because of a $5 plant.

‘I’d like to spread the word about this houseplant because I had no idea when I purchased it from a big box garden center last summer that this little 6-inch plant would become my nightmare.

‘The Sago Palm is a common house plant and landscaping plant native to tropical regions.

‘All parts of the plants are extremely toxic to humans and animals causing liver failure and death from even minimal exposure. All parts includes the trunk, roots, leaves, and small berry-like seeds that can develop on mature plants.

‘I have seen this plant for sale on the shelves at Walmart, Lowes, and Home Depot sitting among other harmless household plants with zero warning label attached.’

After the Facebook post began to spread, eventually receiving more than 244,000 shares, Kate added an update to let people know that Lily had died as a result of ingesting the plant.

‘On Saturday, May 16, Lily passed away in our arms,’ wrote Kate. ‘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.

‘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.

‘Feel free to share this story. You may just save a life.’

Common houseplants that are toxic for pets:

  • Lilies
  • Amaryllis
  • Aphelandra
  • Azalea
  • Castor Oil Plant
  • Christmas Cherry
  • Cheese plant
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Christmas cactus
  • Codiaeum Croton
  • Cyclamen Devil’s Ivy
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Dumb Cane
  • Elephant’s Ear
  • Mistletoe
  • Umbrella Plant
  • Zebra Plant
  • Sago palm
  • Poinsetta
  • Aloe

Do you have a story to share? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

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  • Posted on May 26, 2020