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YEW, JAPANESE YEW - Taxus species

YEW, JAPANESE YEW PLANT
YEW, JAPANESE YEW PLANT
YEW, JAPANESE YEW PLANT
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YEW, JAPANESE YEW PLANT

YEW, JAPANESE YEW PLANT

YEW, JAPANESE YEW PLANT

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YEW, JAPANESE YEW PLANT YEW, JAPANESE YEW PLANT YEW, JAPANESE YEW PLANT
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Distinguishing features

Yews are evergreen trees and shurbs that have flat, needle-like leaves , about 1 inch long. They grow in opposite pairs along twigs. A distinguishing feature of the yew is the red fleshy berry that forms a cup around a black seed. 

Description.  These plants are landscape shrubs with small, narrow, strap-like evergreen leaves that are two-ranked along the stem.  The leaves taper bluntly to a point.  The fleshy fruit (known as an aril) turns red when ripe.
Exposure.  Animals gain access when trimmed hedges or shrubs are carelessly cast into pastures or when animals escape into landscaped areas.
Toxic principle.  Taxine alkaloids (A and B) are believed to inhibit depolarization in the heart.  The whole plant, except for the red aril (fruit), is toxic.
Toxicity.  This plant is highly toxic to herbivores.  As little as 6-8 ounces of fresh yew may kill an adult cow or horse.

Diagnosis.  Acute onset and sudden death are common.  Often animals are found dead with no premonitory signs.

Clinical signs: trembling, muscle weakness, dyspnea, and collapse are cardinal clinical signs.  Arrhythmia, bradycardia, and diastolic heart block appear to be the cause of death.

Laboratory diagnosis: some laboratories can detect yew alkaloids in appropriate samples such as rumen contents.

Lesions.  Diagnosis often depends on finding evidence of yew leaves in the rumen or stomach contents.

Treatment: 

      assisted respiratory and vascular support may be helpful

      detoxification measures, including activated charcoal and catharsis, should be promptly taken

      atropine may be helpful to combat the cardio-depressant effect of taxine, but must be given early in the course of the disease.

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Copyright 2002

University of Pennsylvania
Created by:    Alexander Chan (2003), Daphne Downs (2002), Chris Tsai (2001), Brett Begley (2000), Janet Triplett (1997)
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Robert Poppenga