Palm trees can be found in all parts of Florida: from the beach to the park, your backyard to an ornamental houseplant. One palm tree to keep an eye out for year-round is the Sago Palm. All parts of a Sago Palm are severely toxic to pets with the seeds or nuts being the greatest threat. Ingestion of this plant can lead to symptoms involving the gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system. Signs to look out for are lethargy, inappetence, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and seizures. Ingestion can also result in liver failure and death. Treatment should be initiated immediately to strengthen chances of survival.
Alternate names: Cycads, Cycadaceae, sago, Zamias, Macrozamia, Cycas cirinalis, Japanese cycad, Cycad revolute, Coontie plant, Zamia pumila, Cardbord palm, Zamia furfuracea
(Photo courtesy of Pet Poison Helpline and Tyne Hovda)
Along the eastern coast and some southwestern states, you are sure to spot lantanas in the wild. Lantanas are beautiful flower shrubs that consist of multi-colored blossoms typically of yellow, orange, and red. Population is at its greatest when this plant can grow wild, so keep an eye out when going on a hike. All parts of the plant are toxic with the berries being the most toxic in the plant due to triterpenoid. Not every lantana you come across will have berries, but if they do they will be small in size and dark blue to black in color. Triterpenoids are liver toxins that can lead to liver failure and damage to the gallbladder and bile ducts in cats, dogs, and potentially livestock as well. Depression, diarrhea, labored breathing, weakness, and vomiting are symptoms to watch for if ingested. Those affected should be seen by a veterinarian for treatment.
Alternate names: Red sage, Wild sage, Shrub Verbena, Yellow sage, Lantana, Verbenaceae
(Photo courtesy of ASPCA)
Popular for its evergreen qualities and delicate flowers, Oleander is an outdoor shrub you want to keep an eye out for. This plant does not have a distinct region of origin but can be spotted in warmer locations. All parts of this plant are very lethal to multiple species such as dogs, cats, horses, and other livestock. Cardiac glycosides are naturally occurring steroids, specifically cardenolides or bufadienolides, with a powerful stimulating action on the cardiac muscle and can have a cardiotoxic and a neurotoxic effect on the body. Symptoms include abdominal pain, drooling, nausea, vomiting, dilated pupils, lethargy, collapse, abnormal heartrate, diarrhea, heart arrhythmia, and death. Immediate veterinary care is critical if your pet has consumed any part of this plant; do not wait for symptoms to occur.
Alternate names: Nerium oleander, white oleander, cardiac glycosides
(Photo courtesy of ASPCA)
Azaleas, one of many species of the Rhododendron, are shrubs that grow flowers in a variety of colors. All parts of this plant are toxic to cats and dogs and, if ingested, the toxicity level can be mild to severe. A pet ingesting 0.2% of its body weight can still result in poisoning. All rhododendrons contain grayanotoxins which are a group of toxins that can damage sodium channels affecting the skeletal and cardiac muscle. Clinical signs to look out for are drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, inappetence, heart arrhythmia, hypotension, weakness, tremors, depression, blindness, and seizures. It is recommended for the pet to get checked out right away for proper treatment.
Alternate names: Ericaceae, Rhododendron, grayanotoxin
(Photo courtesy of Pet Poison Helpline)