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CONTACT 13: Beware of plants dangerous to pets

Posted at 10:55 PM, May 20, 2016

Spring is in the air, and that means it's time to plant. But it turns out, some plants for your home or yard could be putting a loved one at risk. Contact 13 has a warning before you buy anything new.

"I was hysterical... I just broke down and sobbed," says Loretta Hartwick-Winter.
She thought she was going to lose her dog, Boss Hog. He was only 8 months old when he ate a small, potted, sago palm.
"He started walking like he was drunk. He would fall from side to side, and then he began vomiting," says Loretta.
She rushed him to Cheyenne West Animal Hospital.
"He was a sick little boy. They didn't give him a really good chance," says Loretta.
It turns out, the sago palm Boss Hog ate, is extremely toxic to dogs.
"He was hospitalized for several days, developed extremely high liver values," says veterinarian Dr. Brian Hewitt.
It's a problem he sees every month. And sago palms aren't the only dangerous plant out there.
There are 2 particular plant groups to watch for: Dieffenbachia and Philodendron. They can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea and in some cases, require hospitalization. Another common plant to avoid is oleander. And lilies are very poisonous for your cat.
"If a cat eats a lily, they have a bad habit of going into sudden kidney failure. And in many cases, there's nothing we can do about it," says Dr. Hewitt.
Some non-toxic plants, are also unsafe. Foxtails grow wild, and have dangerously sharp barbs. Bonnie Paul had to rush her dog, Heather, to see Dr. Hewitt last month, after she ate some foxtails and started coughing.
"He had to put her to sleep and dig way back where her teeth end," says Bonnie. "They were causing a lot of pain, a lot of infection. She literally had a laceration in the back of her mouth from these foxtails," says Dr. Hewitt.
It's a tough, and expensive lesson learned for Bonnie.
"It was very scary because she's my protector, and my buddy, and I love her," says Bonnie.
Loretta says all pet owners need to be warned about dangerous plants.
"If you buy them in a nursery they should have been labeled. I've been in several where they weren't," says Loretta.