Many people love growing exotic succulents at home, including a Southern ornamental gem Yucca.
If you adore this spiny succulent with its banana-shaped fruit, you should know whether they are safe to keep around because of the fear of Yucca plant poisoning.
A question may linger about whether ingesting parts of these succulents causes any poisoning in small children and pets.
Yucca plant poisoning is common because it contains compounds called Saponins which lead to low toxicity in humans but moderate to severe toxicity in animals, including dogs, cats, horses, and birds.
ASPCA lists this favorite succulent as one of the poisonous plants for pets.
Find out whether these plants to keep around your home or if you should take extra precautions.
Table of Contents
- Is Yucca Poisonous to Humans?
- Is Yucca Poisonous to Pets?
- Symptoms of Yucca Poisoning in Pets
- Diagnosing Yucca Poisoning in Pets
- Treatment of Yucca Poisoning in Pets
- How to Prevent Your Children and Pets from Mistreating Yucca?
Is Yucca Poisonous to Humans?
Yucca (genus Yucca) is a popular succulent species from the asparagus family hailing from Southern North America.
These warmth-loving succulents thrive in the average household; therefore, they have been grown for ages by people for decor and medicinal benefits.
In fact, the Yucca roots have been used to treat ailments like osteoarthritis, migraine headaches, high blood pressure, intestine inflammation, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc.
However, all parts of Yucca contain toxic compounds called Saponins, which may cause irritations in most humans.
Although known to be toxic to humans, the Saponins are usually absorbed and may not cause severe poisoning unless you are allergic to them.
Experts suggest boiling the Yucca plants to a high degree before eating to remove toxins.
Some curious children may harm themselves when trying to rub the Yucca leaves as the prickly foliage may cut or poke them.
The Yucca leaf can be dangerous, as a poke from the spikey leaf can cause significant pain and discomfort.
Leaf puncture can cause inflammation because harmful bacteria and saponin penetrate deep into the skin.
In addition, avoid eating Red Yucca at any cost as it is not edible and is considered severely poisonous. Raw Yucca consists of cyanogenic glucosides, which cause the release of hydrogen cyanide.
The release of Hydrogen Cyanide can be pretty dangerous for humans as the cyanide level exceeds the limit of detoxification.
The acute lethal dose of hydrogen cyanide for humans is reported to be 0.5 to 3.5 mg per kilogram of body weight. Children are especially vulnerable due to their smaller bodies.
Yucca Poisoning Symptoms in Humans
Be wary about keeping Yucca plants at home because small children are very likely to nibble on Yucca plant flowers and fruit.
One of the primary symptoms of Yucca poisoning is intense skin irritation when the Saponins reach your skin pores.
In the case of children, they will exhibit red bumps and skin abrasions when prickled by the Yucca leaves.
Sometimes, the bacteria or pollen on the Yucca leaves may also enter your skin when prickled.
Allergic reactions to the Yucca plant may include the following symptoms.
- Stomach upset
- Bitter taste in the mouth and Vomiting
- Nausea and Diarrhea
- Rapid respiration and drop in blood pressure
- Headache, Rapid pulse, and dizziness
Treatment of Yucca Poisoning in Humans
It may be challenging to determine whether the physiological condition exhibited by a human is caused by Yucca poisoning.
Although rare, you should consult your physician if your child exhibits severe poisoning symptoms.
- The first step is to wash or rub the skin with rubbing alcohol, degreasing or dishwashing soap, and lots of washers to remove the residue. It prevents the residue from drying on the skin and further spreading.
- Apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to the skin to reduce itch and the risk of blisters.
- Otherwise, provide some warm water to drink to dilute the poison left in the stomach.
- To relieve itching, take an antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
- You can provide syrup of Ipecac (U.S.P to induce vomiting) in a severe case of poisoning; however, it may not be needed.
Disclaimer: Contact your Physician before taking any medicines.
Is Yucca Poisonous to Pets?
Yes, the Yucca plant is moderate to severely poisonous to pets, including cats, dogs, horses, and birds.
Ingesting a small amount of Yucca leaves, stems, flowers, or roots may cause problems ranging from irritation to physiological change.
The glycoside compound Saponins found in Yucca flower, stems, leaves, and roots will enter their bloodstream leading to toxication.
However, the poisoning will differ from one animal to another and one size to another.
Do not confuse Yucca with Yuca or Cassava root, an edible plant used to make confectionaries.
Note: However, the plant gives a very bitter taste; therefore, it is unlikely for a house pet to tolerate eating enough of the Yucca leaves and flowers.
Is Yucca Poisonous to Dogs?
Yes, Yucca is poisonous to dogs leading to moderate to severe effects when ingested in a large amount.
Especially raw Yucca root is poisonous to canines as it contains a significant amount of steroidal saponins.
However, the toxic compound is found in every part of the plant, leading to debilitating digestive problems and toxicity.
Is Yucca Poisonous to Cats?
Saponins toxicity is a severe issue in cats leading to difficulty breathing and digestive system problems.
Unfortunately, cats’ digestive system is sensitive to houseplant toxins that you may find negligible; hence Yucca might cause more harm to them than you.
Yucca poisoning in cats is indicated by symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and convulsions.
Is Yucca Poisonous to Other Animals?
Yucca is known to be more dangerous to large animals like horses, sheep, and goats that are chronically grazing on this plant.
Although rare, they may come in contact with the Yucca grown outdoors, such as in the garden or fields.
Eating the plant in a small amount may not affect them, but the significant intake can lead to poisoning.
Similarly, eating the Yucca plant will also lead to poisoning in small grazing animals like chickens.
Symptoms of Yucca Poisoning in Pets
The symptoms of Yucca poisoning can be determined by telltale signs, including unusual physical behavior and deteriorating health.
Most of the time, the mild poisoning will go away by itself, but the poisoning may sometimes worsen their condition.
Here are a few signs you should look out for.
|Lack of coordination||Difficulty in movement is a common sign of mild to severe poisoning.|
|Vomiting or Dry Heaving||They will throw up even without eating anything.
Whining in a weak voice, dry heaving.
|Drooling||Excessive salivating is common in mild to severe poisoning.|
|Pawing at the mouth||Skin irritation will encourage them to paw at their mouth|
|Nausea||They seem restless and uncomfortable.|
|Diarrhea||Loose stool is common in poisoning.|
|Convulsion||Irregular movement of the body|
|Dilated Pupil||Black center of eyes larger than normal|
|Skin rash and inflammation||Grainy and red bumps appear on the surface of pets skin|
Diagnosing Yucca Poisoning in Pets
Diagnosing Yucca poisoning in pets may take a few steps to determine.
- Start observing your pet to find the plant residue inside or around their mouth.
- Otherwise, try to find them nibbling the plant or look for bite marks on the leaves and flowers.
- The best way to identify Yucca poisoning in pets is to take them to the veterinarian.
- Remember to inform the veterinarian of your pets’ detailed health history and availability of toxic plants in the house to discern toxicity from pre-existing health concerns.
- Your veterinarian will run a medical assessment based on the unusual signs exhibited by the animal.
Veterinarian diagnosis may include physical diagnoses such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and other medical examinations such as endoscopy, electrocardiogram, X-ray, CT scan, and so on.
Treatment of Yucca Poisoning in Pets
The treatment of Yucca poisoning will always depend on how much they ate and what symptoms they are showing.
Small animals like dogs and cats will forbid eating any more Yucca as soon as they taste their bitter-tasting foliage.
Therefore, you need not worry about severe poisoning. However, preparing for the worst is always a good idea and planting accordingly.
1. Home Treatment
Upon discovering the early symptoms of Yucca plant poisoning, you should begin administering the first air treatment.
- Start with administering first aid treatment.
- Move your pet away from the plant and wrap them in a blanket to resist movement.
- Wear gloves and remove visible residues of the plant from their mouth.
- Wash their mouth with fresh, clean water.
- Administer activated charcoal syrup with a syringe (use one gram of powder for every pound of cat) if you witness signs of severe poisoning; however, you must be aware of the procedure.
- Use hydrogen peroxide (1 tsp. of 3% solution per 5-10 pounds of their body weight) with the help of an oral syringe to induce vomiting to let go of the ingested poison.
- Otherwise, consult with your vet for insights.
Note: Always keep a first aid box at home, and remember to call the veterinarian if the situation seems severe.
Here are some recommendations for first-aid kits;
|Name of first Aids Kits||Brand|
|Band-Aid Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose Portable Compact First Aid Kit||Johnson & Johnson|
|Pet First Aid Cat Kit||Rayco International|
|RC Pet Products Pet First Aid Kit||RC Pet Products|
|Certified Pet First Aid Kit||NM2|
|American Supplies Pet First Aid Kit||American Pet Supplies|
However, do not rely on home treatment because excessive consumption of toxic plants can be fatal, and quick veterinarian treatment is needed.
Therefore, it is much better to take your pets to a qualified veterinarian as soon as you suspect consumption.
Here are some emergency helpline numbers;
2. Veterinary Treatment
Professionals better handle severe poisoning cases; hence, take your pet to the nearest vet for immediate treatment.
They may use antiemetic or antispasmodic medication techniques effectively in such cases.
- Along with removing the plant residue from the mouth by cleaning it with water, they will try different methods to induce vomiting and suppress nausea.
- They will administer Dexmedetomidine, hydromorphone, or xylazine to induce vomiting and relieve nausea.
- Alternatively, antiemetics with the dosage of 100-200ml of fluids are administered to stabilize vomiting.
- Anti-diarrheal agents Metronidazole and Tylosin will be administered in case of loose stool.
Here are some medications that a veterinarian might prescribe for your pets.
|Antihistamine||Diphenhydramine: 2-4mg/kg every 8 hours if needed||To minimize swelling, distress, and potential airway blockages caused by the body's inflammatory reaction|
|Antiemetics||100-200ml of fluids at one time.||To stabilize vomiting|
|Anti-diarrheal agents||Metronidazole:7.5 - 10 mg/ kg|
Tylosin:15 mg/ kg )
|To reduce intestinal inflammation and stop diarrhea|
|Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)||Robenacoxib:1 mg/ kg per day|
Meloxicam:0.2 mg/ kg per day
|To reduce inflammation and bring down high temperature|
|Muscle Relaxants||Methocarbamol:7-20 mg/ pound|
5mg/ cat (Baclofen- causes toxicity on higher dose)
|Muscle relaxation and control muscle spasm|
|Activated Charcoal||1-5 gm/ kg||To lessen effects of poisoning|
|Anticonvulsants||Phenobarbital:2-3 mg per pound twice a day||Relieves nerve pain|
|Protectants||Sucralfate:1/4 to 1/2 gm every 6 to 8 hours||To protect internal organs from acids and toxins.|
Disclaimer: Do not provide any kind of medication without consulting to your vet.
3. Recovery Stage
Depending on the severity of the poisoning and treatment, your pet will recover within 6 to 24 hours.
The sickness usually lasts 12 to 24 hours, whereas primary symptoms may appear at 6 to 12 hours.
Your veterinarian will recommend a hospital stay or discharge based on your pet’s condition. The pet owners usually take their pet immediately after the treatment.
Note: Remember, veterinary treatment is rare in the case of Yucca poisoning.
How to Prevent Your Children and Pets from Mistreating Yucca?
Keeping small children and pets away from the houseplant such as Yucca can be challenging.
This succulent plant’s spellbinding flower and fruits will attract them to touch or even take a nib on it.
Here are a few proven ways to keep curious children and pets away from your Yucca plant.
- Use sprays induced with cayenne pepper to deter small animals from coming close to the plant. Spraying lemon or citrus juice and orange juice may also help.
- Better hang them by the ceiling to keep them away from children and pets.
- Grow houseplants lavender, verbena, thyme, balsam, lilac, or pine around the poisonous plants to naturally repel small animals.
- Grow cat grass to repel curious felines.
- Apply Neem oil (herbicide) on the plant every few months to repel small animals and pests.
- Add pinecones or a plastic carpet protector with a knobby side to irritate the animal’s paws.
- Shield the plant by placing it inside terrariums.
Yucca makes a beautiful succulent plant that produces a fine addition to your mini garden.
However, be wary about keeping it accessible to small children and pets to prevent accidental poisoning.
You should be extra careful with kids because the prickly leaves can easily pierce their skin.
Use this guide to diagnose Yucca plant poisoning in children and pets and introduce necessary hurdles to avoid poisoning.
You may want to dicover more about other toxic plants; Here is the list of Potential Poisonous Houseplants