The entire yew bush, except for the fleshy berry surrounding the seed, is toxic due to a group of chemicals called taxine alkaloids. Yew poisonings are relatively common in both domestic and wild animals who consume the plant accidentally. Taxine B, the most toxic of the taxine alkaloids, is a cardiotoxin which works by disrupting the calcium and sodium currents of the myocardial cells. The taxine alkaloids are absorbed quickly from the intestine and in high enough quantities can cause death due to cardiac arrest or respiratory failure. Ingesting yew causes symptoms such as dizziness, dilation of pupils, abdominal pain, nausea and an irregular heartbeat.