Yew Poisoning Average Cost

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What is Yew Poisoning?

Common names for the yew include yew plum pine, fern pine, yew pine, Japanese yew, and Southern yew. These are not really yew trees, so they are not as toxic, but they can produce some severe side effects if eaten that can be lethal if not treated. These plants grow mainly in the south (Texas, Louisiana, and Florida) and the west (California, Arizona, and Oregon), but are beginning to be more prominent in other states with warm climates. Your dog may find the cones from this tree to be quite tasty, so a lethal amount can be consumed in a fairly short time. It is best not to let your dog have any access to this plant. If you suspect yew poisoning, call your veterinarian right away.

The yew is also known by many other names and there are also many different kinds. The most common name is Buddhist pine, which is an evergreen shrub or tree with needle-like leaves and pods that are fleshy and toxic. The entire tree can be toxic to dogs if eaten, and can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea even with the consumption of a small amount of cones, which have the highest concentration of the toxic chemical. Unfortunately, it is unknown what chemical in the plant is poisonous. However, the results are similar to other chemical agents, so the symptoms would be similar. The major threat is dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea.

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Symptoms of Yew Poisoning in Dogs

The symptoms of eating yew are different for each dog as it depends on the part of the plant they consumed (needles, bark, cones), the amount that was eaten, and the overall health of your dog. Common symptoms are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • If too much vomiting has caused dehydration:
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Life-threatening changes in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Weakness


The yew (taxus) is a small coniferous shrub or tree in the taxaceae family. There are hundreds of yews, but the most common in the United States are:

  • Yew plum pine
  • Fern pine
  • Yew pine
  • Japanese yew
  • Southern yew

Causes of Yew Poisoning in Dogs

The cause of the toxicity in yew plants is not known, but your dog can get a toxic dose from several parts of the plant, including:

  • Flowers
  • Fruit (most toxic)
  • Leaf blades
  • Limbs
  • Seedlings

Diagnosis of Yew Poisoning in Dogs

Bring a sample of the yew that you believe your dog has eaten. The veterinarian will be able to treat your dog sooner if he can make a definitive diagnosis right away. The team will start your dog on fluids through an intravenous line to combat dehydration and flush the toxins out faster. An electrocardiogram (EKG) will be done right away if there are any cardiac symptoms (heart rate increased or decreased) to monitor your dog’s heart rate while doing the physical examination.

The physical includes weight, body temperature, pulse oximetry (blood oxygen level), blood pressure, breath sounds, and reflexes. The veterinarian may also perform a vision test and oral examination. Be sure to have your dog’s medical history, including any medical and vaccination records, recent injury or illness, strange behavior, and changes in appetite.

A variety of laboratory tests will be done, like a urinalysis, fecal examination, complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, blood gas panel, glucose level, and blood urea nitrogen (BUN). Chest and abdominal x-rays, CT scan, and ultrasound may also be helpful in determining whether there is any more of the plant material left in your dog’s digestive system.

Treatment of Yew Poisoning in Dogs

If it has only been a short time since your dog ate the yew, the veterinarian will induce vomiting if your dog has not been doing so already. Your dog’s intestinal system and stomach will be flushed with saline to remove any leftover plant debris. The veterinarian will use activated charcoal to absorb the toxins that are still in your dog’s system. A medication that slows down the nervous system (paraldehyde) will be used to stop convulsions if needed. A short hospital stay may be needed to observe your dog and provide supportive treatments should they be needed.

Recovery of Yew Poisoning in Dogs

When you take your dog home, you will need to keep him calm for a few days, so cage rest may be recommended. Your veterinarian will give you detailed instructions of what you should do, but it is important to provide plenty of fresh water and a mild diet for about a week. Be sure to keep your dog away from these and all other poisonous plants and trees. If you have any concerns or questions, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian.