For those who don’t know, the cycad plant is extremely toxic when ingested. All parts of the plant are toxic, but the seeds contain the highest concentration of toxins. When ingested, the toxin can affect the gastrointestinal system and the liver causing neurological signs. The liver damage caused when seeds are ingested, is usually fatal.
During the late evening of 8 December 2015 “Cara” decided to eat a few cycad seeds. Although the cycad has been in the garden since her arrival a year ago this was the first time she decided to eat the seeds. Early morning “Cara’s” very attentive owners noticed that something was wrong and saw vomit containing cycad seeds. They knew that the plant could potentially be toxic and immediately rushed “Cara” through to our vet clinic.
When “Cara” arrived at our clinic she was immediately hospitalized. Further vomiting was induced to rid her of as much solid form (seeds) as possible, and then medication was given to bind any further toxins in the gastrointestinal system. Supportive medicine, including intravenous fluid therapy was given for 24 hours. After the treatment “Cara” showed no signs of cycad toxicity and was discharged.
Two weeks later “Cara” was rushed back to hospital due to loss of appetite and vomiting. Several tests were done confirming that she was in acute liver failure due to the cycad toxin ingested two weeks before (despite the initial treatment). “Cara” was admitted again, and hospitalized for more than two weeks. During this time she received very intensive therapy and tests were done on a daily basis to monitor her progress.
Due to “Cara’s” amazing bubbly personality and her will to live combined with her owners loving support and willingness to carry on at all costs, “Cara” managed to survive the acute liver failure.
Today “Cara” is at home with her loving family, including her sister “Betsie” playing as if nothing ever happened. There are still the occasional hiccups however and “Cara” still needs to come for regular check ups.
We here at Morerelatapark Animal Hospital have really become very fond of “Cara” and she will always have a very special place in our hearts. We really would like to thank her owners for their trust in our practice and staff, as well as their outstanding dedication to and love for “Cara”. “Cara” is one lucky girl to have ended up with such a special family.