Quiz: Holiday myths debunked
You chose fact: Correct!
Fact: American mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.), the iconic holiday plant under which couples like to stop, also has an exaggerated degree of toxicity. Rumors of its toxic nature are largely due to confusion with its cousin, European mistletoe (Viscum spp.).
Threat to pets: The toxic agents of most significance are glycoprotein lectins, which may inhibit protein synthesis and result in cell death.
Signs: Ingestion of American mistletoe leaves or berries may cause lethargy, vomiting, and, less frequently, diarrhea. In rare cases hypotension (low blood pressure) may occur.
Treatment: Most cases can be managed at home. In some cases, general supportive care such as anti-emetics, gastroprotectants, and rehydration may be necessary. Should clinical signs such as hypotension occur, monitoring of blood pressure and heart rate are warranted.
Prognosis: Excellent in the majority of ingestions.