Pet poison berry warning


By Oliver Lees

An animal charity is cautioning pet owners to steer clear of a tree found in the Macedon Ranges, due to the potentially poisonous nature of its berries.

In an alert posted on its website, the Australian Animal Poisons Helpline stated: “White cedar berries are now ripe and falling from trees… pets that eat these berries can potentially develop severe poisoning.”

The white cedar tree, otherwise known as the Chinaberry, can be found in every state across Australia.

According to the Australian National Botanic Gardens, the deciduous tree yields a yellow, spherical berry that is currently ripe and dropping.

The charity recommends that pets remain on leash in areas where the tree is present as the berries are said to be sweet and highly palatable to animals.

Kyneton Veterinary Hospital veterinarian Leigh Coghlan said he could not recall an instance of a pet that had been poisoned from the berries, but he suspected dogs would be most likely to consume them.

According to the Macedon Ranges council Tree Management Policy, no trees should have “inappropriate fruits, berries and poisonous qualities”.

The white cedar tree is currently listed on the council’s Street Tree Planting Preferred Species List.

The council was contacted for comment.

If your pet has ingested these berries, call the Animal Poisons Helpline: 1300 869 738