9575 El Camino Real Atascadero, CA 93422

"A Full Service Veterinary Hospital Serving the Pets, People,
and Veterinarians of the Central Coast."


Sampson is a happy and friendly one year old male Staffordshire terrier with a near miraculous story. Over six months ago, Sampson's owners purchased a Sago Palm plant from Home Depot for outdoor landscaping at their home. Sampson unfortunately found this new tree inviting and decided to chew on it. Sago Palms are extremely toxic to pets. It appears all parts; leaves, stems, bark and date seeds can cause poisoning. Their toxicity causes an initial gastro-intestinal damage and also a delayed hepatic toxicity leading to possible liver cirrhosis.

Sampson presented to Atascadero Pet Hospital on emergency soon after ingestion and was sick and vomiting. He vomited up Sago Palm at least six times and emptied his stomach before and after presentation to the hospital. His initial liver enzymes were only slightly elevated and he was placed on intravenous fluid therapy, anti-nausea medications, gastrointestinal protectants and administered activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is a toxin absorbent which binds to intestinal products and limits further absorption through the intestinal tract. Sampson appeared to respond well to initial therapy although his hepatic / liver enzymes elevated and then slowly decreased. After several days in the hospital he appeared clinically near normal and was active and eating on his own. He was discharged on special diet and liver supporting medication.


Unfortunately, 6 weeks later Sampson re-presented to us with diarrhea and distended abdomen. He now had developed ascites, (fluid in the abdomen), a sign of possible liver cirrhosis and end stage liver failure. Initial diagnostics indicated that there were very limited liver functions and we offered biopsies for a more concrete diagnosis and prognostic indicator or to trial treat with several medications. Of all the organs in the body, the liver carries the most remarkable ability to regenerate, despite this fact; we prepared ourselves for the worst: liver failure and a fatal situation.

It was a very sad day for a young dog and loving family. Sampson was discharged on diuretics, Denamarin, Hill Prescription L/D diet (for liver support). Much to our pleasant surprise Sampson has made drastic improvements over the past 6 months on his medications and nutritional support. All indications are now that his liver has regenerated and he is feeling normal again. Great news for Sampson, his family and all involved at Atascadero Pet Hospital, but a true warning for the potential for household poisonings. There are a great many seriously toxic plants that naturally exist in our environment or inadvertently purchased and brought home.



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