Toxic plants

Is Buddhist Pine Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Buddhist Pine Toxic To Cats? 

Buddhist pine is an evergreen tree also commonly known as Yew Pine, Japanese Yew, Southern Yew, Podocarpus which are found to be toxic to cats and other small animals. It is actually unclear what toxic substances are in a Buddhist pine but ingestion of any part of this plant may cause diarrhea, enlarged pupil, seizures, tremors, and vomiting in cats.

What Is Buddhist Pine?

Buddhist pine with a cat nearby

Buddhist pine, scientifically known as Podocarpus macrophyllus, is native to southern Japan and eastern China, but it is also planted in portions of the United States, including Texas, Louisiana, Florida, California, Arizona, and Oregon. It’s also found in other places with warmer temperatures.

This member of the Podocarpaceae family is a small to medium-sized conifer tree that grows up to 20 meters tall. Buddhist pine leaflets have a central midrib and are strap-shaped, measuring six to twelve centimeters long and one centimeter wide. Buddhist pine cones feature two to four scales and are carried on a short stem. As the cones enlarge and develop, they become reddish-purple, thick, and berry-like, which may pique your cats’ interest in case they find it along the pavement.

Clinical Signs of Buddhist Pine Poisoning in Cats

Buddhist pine and cats

Seek medical assistance from a veterinarian if your cat is manifesting signs of poisoning. Some of the typical indications of Buddhist pine poisoning are:

First Aid and Treatment of Buddhist Pine Poisoning in Cats

Buddhist pine plant with a cat sitting in the background

The veterinarian will give usual countermeasures for poisoning, such as inducing vomiting and performing gastric lavage, which involves placing a tube into your cat’s stomach through the mouth and gently pushing small volumes of saline solution into the stomach to eliminate the contents. Activated charcoal can also be given to your cat to absorb toxins and prevent them from entering the stomach or other tissues. If your cat has been having convulsions, paraldehyde will be administered via IV to help your cat relax while also reducing anxiety. Depending on the severity of your cat’s ailment, the vet may recommend close monitoring of your cat for a night or two.

Recovery from Buddhist Pine Poisoning in Cats

After the treatment, the veterinarian will provide you with specific advice on what to do next. Once you return home, make sure your cat has lots of fresh water and a soft diet for at least a week, or as prescribed by your veterinarian. Allow your cat to rebuild strength in the comfort of your home while he or she recovers.

Prevention of Buddhist Pine Poisoning in Cats

Keep away your cats from Buddhist pine trees and other poisonous plants that may be in your home or neighborhood. Use playpens or cat houses to ensure their safety especially if you are going to leave them alone in the house. Install additional protection in your house like fences and safety nets to restrict your cats from going beyond the vicinity of your house. 

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

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