Are Mistletoe Berries Poisonous?

Mistletoes are gorgeous plants with over 1500 different plant types and are commonly used in holiday celebrations worldwide. These plants flower in the spring and will then produce white berries. These plants are extremely popular, but are they dangerous to our animals or us?

Mistletoe plants and their white berries are poisonous to humans due to the Viscotoxin and Pharatoxin compounds found in them, which can cause problems when ingested. The berries and plants are also poisonous to animals due to the pharatoxin viscumin and toxalbumin found in the plant.

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Are Mistletoe Berries Poisonous To Humans?

Mistletoe plants are one of the most well-known plants globally due to their iconic use of kissing someone under the Mistletoe at Christmas, which has been popularized through Christmas movies. So, this makes Mistletoe an extremely popular plant around the world.

Mistletoe is a lovely evergreen plant that produces white berries, but in the wild, these plants are far from the romantic vision we give them. These plants grow parasitically on other plants, stealing their nutrients to ensure their own survival.

There are over 1500 different varieties of Mistletoe that can easily grow in most climates worldwide. Mistletoe is also known by other names, including Christmas yuletide plants and Phoradendron.

With the wide variety of Mistletoe variants in the country, and with them being able to spread from one side of the US to the other quickly, this can raise a few concerns about your family’s safety around these plants. Are these fears valid, or can they be calmed?

Unfortunately, all varieties of the Mistletoe plant are poisonous to humans, and this goes for their berries too. These plants contain two toxins known as Viscotoxin and Pharatoxin, poisonous proteins that will affect humans if ingested.

Children and adults who consume any part of the plant will experience some unpleasant negative side effects. Ingesting the Mistletoe plant or its berries can cause some severe side effects that may vary from human to human.

With the number of Mistletoe plants around, especially at Christmas, this can pose quite a big threat to your family’s health, particularly for any small children that the plant’s berries can entice.

Christmas Mistletoe berries
Yay Christmas Mistletoe berries

Are Mistletoe Berries Poisonous To Dogs?

With the increasing numbers of Mistletoe plants popping up around the country, there may be a large number of these plants beginning to grow around your home; this can be worrying for dog owners.

Mistletoe plants are fast-growing and can tolerate many environments, meaning they can be found almost anywhere. This can concern many dog owners as many plants are poisonous to dogs, with some of these dangerous plants proving to be deadly to dogs if they are ingested, which is a scary thought for dog owners.

All this can make you concerned for your dog’s health when you take your dog out for a walk in areas where possible dangerous plants are growing, and you don’t know if the Mistletoe plant is one of them.

This can also concern you during the holiday season when Mistletoe plants are commonly kept indoors more than throughout the rest of the year. So, should you be concerned about your dog being around Mistletoe plants?

Mistletoe plants and their berries are poisonous to dogs and can cause some rather severe side effects if a dog ingests them. This is due to the same poisonous proteins, Viscotoxin and Pharatoxin, that can affect humans and are found in all plant parts, including the berries.

However, the berries contain pharatoxin viscumin and toxalbumin, which can poison your dog if ingested. If you catch your dog consuming the berries of a Mistletoe plant, you need to take them to a vet immediately for treatment.

Mistletoe white berries
Yay Mistletoe white berries

Are Mistletoe Berries Poisonous To Cats?

As Mistletoe plants are common around the United States and the rest of the world, this can be as concerning for cat owners as it is for dog owners.

However, this plant’s popularity could be more troublesome for cat owners, as they have little to no control over where their cats go and what they do or eat while their cats are on their adventures outside their homes.

With the high number of these plants located around your neighborhood, this can be extremely troubling to you, as many plants in the world are highly toxic to cats. So, are your worries for your cat’s health with Mistletoe valid, or can your mind be put to ease about these plants?

Mistletoe plants and the berries they produce are poisonous to cats due to the pharatoxin viscumin and toxalbumin in the plant. These toxins can cause severe symptoms in your cat that need to be treated by a vet.

So, if you see your cat consuming these berries, do not wait for them to show symptoms first, but take them to your local vet immediately.

Are Mistletoe Berries Poisonous To Any Livestock Animals?

Pet and animal owners in urban areas are not the only animal owners that are anxious about the ever-increasing numbers of Mistletoe plants appearing everywhere.

People who own livestock, including chickens, sheep, horses, cows, and goats, are just as troubled for the health of their livestock animals with the growing number of Mistletoe plants.

Mistletoe plants are also poisonous to livestock animals and are highly toxic to horses. All parts of the Mistletoe plant, including their berries, are toxic to these animals due to the same toxins found in the plant that can negatively affect cats and dogs.

For this reason, if you own any of the livestock animals mentioned above, you must check your fields for this plant and clear it out before your livestock animals can eat it or the berries.

What Are The Symptoms Of Mistletoe Poisoning?

If you or a family member ingests any part of the Mistletoe plant or the berries, there are some symptoms you should look for. If someone starts to show any of these symptoms, you need to immediately take them to a hospital to receive the medical treatment they need. Here are the symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Heart problems
  • Stomach pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Consuming Mistletoe has also been known to cause miscarriage in women

If your pet or livestock animal ingests the Mistletoe plant or berries, there are some symptoms you should look out for. If your pet demonstrates these symptoms, you need to get your pet to a vet as soon as possible.

Here are the symptoms of Mistletoe poisoning in animals:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Trouble with walking
  • Seizures
  • Death has also been reported in some instances of Mistletoe poisoning in animals