Christmas Lies

Tis the season of delusional traditions. Something about the waning daylight and colder weather means people believe the strangest things, and these lies are really good at staying around for a long time.

(1) There is no Santa Claus, despite the rather detailed mythology surrounding him.
(2) There is no Son of God, despite the rather detailed mythology surrounding him.
(3) There is no problem with Christmas Puppies, despite the rather detailed mythology around them..

…I’ve discussed those all before. So here’s a new one:

(4) There is nothing toxic about Poinsettia plants for humans or pets. So hurry up and get to Costco, they are selling the largest Poinsettia plants I’ve ever seen. Monstrous. But not deadly.

In veterinary school we are taught that Poinsettias are poisonous to animals. In truth the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) does not even include poinsettias on their list of poisonous plants. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lists poinsettias as “not poisonous to pets”. So where did all the holiday fears come from?

In 1919 a 2 year old girl ingested poinsettias and died later that day of unknown causes. It was believed that plant was the cause of her death, but it was never confirmed. So then poinsettias began to be classified as a toxic plant.

Decades later, the public even petitioned for a label warning of their toxicity be placed on retail plants, but the government denied the request for lack of evidence.

In 1996, Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh participated in a study where ~23,000 children were admitted through out the year for suspected poinsettia poisoning. Of all those children there was “no toxicity of any kind” found.

The Ohio State University finally proved that poinsettias are non-toxic to both humans and pets. All parts of the plant were tested, including the leaves and the sap, and nothing threatening was found.

Do keep your pets away from large quantities of Mistletoe and Holly berries, though. Those can be toxic and deadly if not treated promptly.

PetConnection is all over this.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.