Falling for Fall Plants: Macy’s Case

November 16, 2021


This month, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) takes a look at Macy, an adorable two-year-old Golden Retriever, who let her curious side get the better of her.

It was a beautiful fall Saturday when Macy suddenly became quite ill. Her pet parent noticed that she was lethargic, drooling and had developed some watery diarrhea. She had been outside for most of the day, so her pet parent started investigating her environment. That’s when she found a pile of vomit that contained approximately 12 unknown berries.

Alarmed by the potential for a serious plant intoxication, Macy’s pet parent reached out to APCC. She described Macy’s symptoms and what was found in her vomit. To help definitively identify the plant, the hotline staff was sent a photo of the plant and the berries.

Euonymus alata, more commonly known as Burning Bush, is a popular fall ornamental shrub. All parts of the bush can be considered toxic. The plant contains glycosides and alkaloids that are irritating to the digestive tract. It is common to see vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and abdominal pain after the plant is ingested. Sometimes the irritation is severe enough to cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea. With massive exposures, the glycosides can reduce heart function, but these types of exposures are rare in dogs.

The APCC hotline staff let Macy’s pet parent know that the exposure would not be life-threatening and helped manage Macy’s symptoms at home. Fortunately for Macy, her digestive upset only lasted a few hours. With a little time and careful handling, by the next morning Macy was a normal happy dog again! Every day, APCC helps pet parents with toxicity concerns and treatment. Thanks to quick action from this pet parent and our team at APCC, Macy is enjoying a happy, healthy life.

If you believe your pet may have ingested something potentially toxic please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.