Display until March 24, 2015
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DEAR PAW’S CORNER: We have three dogs that freely roam our 26-acre property almost year-round. In August, our youngest dog, “Striper,” went out for a couple of hours and when he returned he was panting heavily. He began drooling and then vomiting. As we got ready to take him to the vet, he collapsed and stopped breathing. We weren’t able to revive him. Our vet said he could have eaten something poisonous.
Since then I’ve walked or ridden all over our property to see what he might have eaten, but I’ve found nothing. My neighbors couldn’t have given him something bad. What could have happened? — Mystified in Northern New Hampshire
DEAR MYSTIFIED: First, I am truly sorry that you lost Striper so tragically. Finding the reason may require a little more investigation.
Did the veterinarian give any indication of what the poison may have been? Did you look at what Striper vomited up just before he collapsed, or take a sample to the vet? While it’s not always possible to tell without more testing, looking for clues to what happened can help to keep your two surviving dogs safe.
Some wild plants are poisonous to dogs, though the worst types usually taste terrible. Standing water with a blue-green algae bloom is a possibility; this cyanobacteria, deadly to pets, often blooms in Southern states in late summer but is creeping northward due to climate change. Household garbage may have cleaning chemicals or old medications mixed in with tempting food scraps. Could old antifreeze have been dumped near the edge of your property? Consider any and all possibilities.
Meanwhile, you can keep your other dogs safe by securing outdoor garbage can lids, separating household cleaning containers from regular trash and monitoring the dogs’ outdoor roaming more closely.
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