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.
Animals most affected
Cattle, dogs, (horses).
Ingestion of branches from the tree or after hedge trimming (cattle). Chewing of
leaves and twigs (dogs). Cases of poisoning very rare.
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
salivation, diarrhoea and occasionally very severe colic.
lassitude, weakness, paralysis.
Death may occur.
No antidote. Symptomatic care only:
adsorbents, gastric demulcents, antacids.
Contents of the stomach or rumen (to identify pieces of plant material: twigs or
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.