Medical Information Cards N°17. Intoxication by the Christmas star

Poinsettia or "Christmas star" (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a plant very appreciated for its decorative virtues. It is not one of the plants known for their great toxicity like the Pink or the castor. Nevertheless, its substantial intake by your pet can have serious consequences ...
The people most affected by these intoxications will be young people who like to discover their environment by "chewing" or even by ingesting the various objects present in their environment.


The toxicity of the Christmas star is related to the presence of various substances in the plant including latex. The most toxic parts are stems and leaves. The contact of the mucous membranes with the toxic substances or their ingestion in large quantity can trigger various symptoms:

- Repeated contact with the eyes or skin of the animal may cause severe irritation:
Eye redness may occur as a result of contact, as well as conjunctivitis, swelling of the eyelids, dilation of the pupils and loss of vision.
The skin in contact with the latex can also present an important inflammation with possible appearance of small blisks or even edema.

- The most frequently noted symptoms are digestive disorders:
Latex causes severe irritation in the mouth (the animal suffers from great oral pain, starts to salivate enormously and may have mouth ulcers, swelling of the lips or edema of the throat). It is also responsible for severe gastric irritation that causes vomiting. The intoxicated animal refuses to eat, can show signs of abdominal pain and suffer from more or less marked diarrhea.

- In cases of massive ingestion of the plant, the intoxicated animal shows signs of agitation, general disturbances (pallor, sweating, hypothermia, chills ...) then more serious symptoms can occur such as:

Hematological disorders (destruction of red blood cells),
Cardiac disorders (heart rhythm disorders, hypotension) or
Neurological disorders (muscle tremors, dizziness ...)
Up to the death of the animal.


A rinse of the eyes with saline may be carried out if the latex contacts the latter. It is then advisable to take the dog or cat intoxicated as quickly as possible to the veterinarian. It will rinse the areas in contact with the plant, wash the stomach if the ingestion is very recent and administer vegetable charcoal to minimize the absorption of the product and its contact with the digestive mucosa.
Finally, cardiac activity will be controlled and haematological or neurological disorders will be sought for the implementation of symptomatic treatment if necessary.

Like other ornamental plants (yucca, ficus, staphyllum, dieffenbachia ...), the Christmas star or Poinsettia contains substances that can cause severe irritation and poisoning if the leaves and stems of the plant are chewed Or ingested by your pet. The disorders can range from simple oral irritation to lesions much more severe in case of massive ingestion (cardiac problems, neurological ...). So make sure that this plant remains out of reach of your companion to avoid any problem.