Japanese Yew bush

Japanese Yew bush

Dr. A just in from a call where the farmer found two dead heifers in the field side by side, thinking it bizarre he called us. Upon opening up the rumen of these girls it was immediately apparent what lead to their demise. The leaves and twigs below are from an ornamental shrub bush called Japanese yew, a commonly planted evergreen found around houses, cemeteries and used in Christmas/winter decor. This plant is lethal alive, cut, and even baled with a toxin that causes the heart to stop within minutes of ingestion. The most common scenario is neighbors thinking they’re being nice by giving the animals their nice green bush trimmings, but we’re still looking for the source in this case. This bush is a dark green with flat 1 inch leaves that have a prominent mid rib. Are there any around your livestock??

Yew leaves and twigs found in the rumen of a heifer on necropsy (animal autopsy).

Yew leaves and twigs found in the rumen of a heifer on necropsy (animal autopsy).

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