Juniperus occidentalis (white cedar, Eastern white cedar, Cedrus lycea, American arborvitae, tree of life). A member of the plant family CUPRESSACEAE. Small upright conifer with aromatic foliage, much used in parks and gardens as a high hedging tree. Reddish peeling bark and small, scale-like leaves often borne in flattened, fan-like sprays. Small hard female cones, becoming smooth on maturity.



[affected.gif] Animals most affected
Cattle, dogs, (horses).


[etiology.gif] Etiology
Ingestion of branches from the tree or after hedge trimming (cattle). Chewing of leaves and twigs (dogs). Cases of poisoning very rare.


[toxic.gif] Toxicity
Contains an essential oil consisting of thuyone, oil of turpentine and other volatile principles (thujigenin and thujetin). The entire plant is toxic. Toxic doses not known.


[clinical.gif] Clinical features
Gastrointestinal

Neurological

Death may occur.


[lesions.gif] Lesions
Non-specific:enteritis.


[treatm~1.gif] Treatment
No antidote. Symptomatic care only:


[labinv~1.gif] Laboratory investigations
Contents of the stomach or rumen (to identify pieces of plant material: twigs or leaves).


[case.gif] Case summary
A 7-year-old male German shepherd dog was found by its owners in a state of partial collapse, with marked hypersalivation. He died very quickly after the onset of clinical signs (8 hours). At autopsy, the veterinary surgeon noted a generalized congestion, most marked around the gastrointestinal tract (intestine, mesenteries, liver) and the kidneys. In addition, numerous fragments of thuja were found in the mouth and at the back of the throat of the dead animal.