Mother’s Day Gardening Caution Against Yew Plants

Mother’s Day is coming up on us fast.

Traditionally I’d have my hands in the dirt gardening Mother’s Day away, but COVID-19 squashed my plant shopping plans. I know many of my friends have braved the dangers to get some pretty plants and food plants to start playing in their yards!

If this is you, please be cautious.

On Valentine’s day, one of my friends who works in another clinic had to watch helplessly as the veterinarian’s dog died at the clinic due to eating a plant in their friend’s yard.

**The dog was twelve and had no history of eating strange things before**

But something about this plant enticed her, and she ate it right up.

Not knowing if it was toxic or not, the veterinarian induced vomiting to get it back up just in case.

Even with a whole staff behind her and a veterinarian for a mom, by 8 am, the dog started twitching. Her heart stopped later that afternoon.

It broke everyone’s heart.

Such things are demoralizing to office staff. Even with all the knowledge in the world, we can’t fix everything. We try hard, but veterinary staff just aren’t botanists.

They sent the plant out to the state for Identification and were informed that it was a Yew Plant that is common in landscaping. A toxicology brief had this to say about it:

Since yew toxicosis is often a postmortem diagnosis, preventing exposure is paramount. Make sure pet owners know that yew branches or leaves should not be used as play items for dogs or as perches for companion birds.

Yowza!

Another doctor who’d had landscaping done two years ago searched his yard and found 31 of the plants!

I googled it and found many varieties of yew available. They have striking red berries that put me in a terrible memory flashback. We had two big bushes beside our door when I was growing up that looked just like that. I ate some of those super looking berries, and my sister told me I was going to die because they were poison. I didn’t sleep for days. Apparently, she was correct that they are toxic.

If you have these in your yard, it might be wise to make sure your canine friends have no access to them, just in case they get a craving for those berries like I did.

It is also wise to check out any new plants you would like to get on google or the ASPCA site to make sure it isn’t toxic before you plant it in an area your dog frequents.

Cat people don’t think you get out of this either.

Cooper Cat was very sick a few months after we brought him home. He was vomiting and inactive one day and healthy the next. I couldn’t figure it out for months. One day he finally vomited up some evidence. There was plant matter in it. Some were recognizable as the bamboo sticking out of my fish tank. The other had a distinctive leaf that turned out to be a spider plant.  Luckily not toxic like the yew, but it is a mild hallucinogen to cats and messed with poor Cooper.

I restricted his access to the spider plant and poof. Mysterious illness disappeared, and the lesson was learned to research every plant before bringing it home. LeeLoo and Cooper stay away from my clover plant but have destroyed my bamboo and snake plant. I get many more plant options outside than in, but many dog owners are opposite from that.

So, no matter what your plant plans are, please be cautious.

Plants can add beauty to your life or cause great sorrow.

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