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Oklahoma State University
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences

Healthy Animals - Healthy People

Yew and Your Animals

Tuesday, March 13 2018

yew shrub

Yew is a common evergreen shrub used in landscaping that is extremely poisonous to all species. This includes dogs, cats, horses, cattle, birds, and humans.

According to Pet Poison Helpline, all parts of the plant are very poisonous, including the succulent red berries, as they contain taxines.

There are several varieties of plants in the Taxus spp. including the Japanese Yew and English Yew.

If ingested, dogs and cats may exhibit one or more of the following clinical signs:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Life-threatening changes in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Recently some florists have started to use Japanese Yew to make wreaths for the holidays. Keep these away from the barn or pasture as horses are very susceptible to yew poisoning.

If you think your animal has ingested something it should not have, call your veterinarian immediately. You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661, which includes a $59 USD per incident fee.

by Elisabeth Giedt, DVM

Veterinary Viewpoints is provided by the faculty of the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital.  Certified by the American Animal Hospital Association, the hospital is open to the public providing routine and specialized care for all species and 24-hour emergency care, 365 days a year.