We do everything in our power to keep our dogs safe. But our first line of defense is knowledge. We cannot protect our dogs from dangers we know nothing about. One man learned this lesson the tragic and heartbreaking way.
He let his dog Sofie into her own backyard and tragedy struck. Sofie lost her life because of a life-threatening toxic plant her human knew nothing about. It is a dog parent’s worst nightmare. Now that man is on a mission to make sure this never happens again.
One Year Old Sofie Ate Parts of a Sago Palm and it Killed Her
Dave Scheuermann let his one-year-old dog Sofie and his other dogs Cookie and Blue out in their backyard. When Sofie came in, he immediately knew something was wrong. He could not have guessed that this was the beginning of the end for his beloved dog. “When Sofie came inside she was gagging and threw up three times, so we took her dog to the vet,” he told the St. Charles Herald Guide. Sofie was originally diagnosed with GI problems.
Sofie got worse in the days that followed. Her family knew that her failure to improve was a very bad sign. They took her to an emergency vet clinic. An employee at that clinic showed the family a picture of a sago palm and asked them if Sofie had access to that kind of plant. That is when they learned that Sofie was suffering from poisoning from a plant that had no idea could harm their dogs. Worst of all, it was too late. Sofie was not going to make it.
All Parts of the Sago Palm Are Poisonous to Dogs
The Pet Poison Helpline says that all parts of the sago palm are considered poisonous, but the seeds being the most toxic part of the plant. Their website says, “Sago palm contains cycasin, which is the primary active toxic agent resulting in severe liver failure in dogs.” “Clinical signs include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, inappetence, abnormal fluid accumulation in the abdomen, abdominal pain, jaundice and black-tarry stool.”
So Angry that He Didn’t Know This Plant was Deadly to Dogs
Mr.Scheuermann has lived in his home since 1986. In 1989 he had the property landscaped and sago palms were included in the design. The family has had dogs for a very long time and had no idea that this danger was lurking in their own backyard. He told the St. Charles Herald Guide, “I got so angry about it. How can someone not know that something this deadly is around? If every vet would have a warning poster in their office, people would know … none of them do … nobody knows.”
For Mr.Scheuermann, the fact that Sofie’s death was completely preventable is the hardest part of this entire ordeal. “This is a totally preventable thing,” he said. “The feeling of, ‘My God, I had no idea,’ is what is the worst thing about it.”
“Sofie’s Sago Palm Project” Go Fund Me Started to Prevent Future Deaths
Mr. Scheuermann is on a mission. He wants to make sure that Sofie’s death was not in vain. He wants others to avoid the pain of going through an entirely preventable death of their beloved dog. He has started the “Sofie’s Sago Palm Project” Go Fund Me page to raise awareness and funds for related work. The goals of the project are to:
- to provide vet offices free warning posters to display
- lobby legislation to mandate warning labels on sago palms that are for sale
- require landscape companies to advise clients of dangers, which is currently required in some but not all states
“I believe every veterinarian office should have a large poster warning of this plant,” he states on the Go Fund Me page. “If our vet had had one we would have been aware and would have removed it.”