Pet Corner: Beware of animal poisoning

“We see it mainly in dogs and time really is of the essence, when dealing with a possible poisoning – and it is vital that the animal is seen by a veterinarian as quickly as possible, so that they can immediately begin treatment,” said the Boksburg SPCA manager, Maggie Mudd.

She shares some information on this topic.

What symptoms may a poisoned animal show?

An animal that could have been poisoned can show any one (or some) of the below symptoms: vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive salivation (drooling), excessive hyperventilation (panting), dyspnoea (difficulty in breathing), convulsions, seizures, tremors and twitching, abdominal pain, disorientation and small pupils.

What must you do if you suspect your animal has been poisoned?

The faster that you can get your pet to a veterinarian for assistance, the better the chances are that the animal will survive.

Make sure that you have your vet’s number on your cell – since a lot of poisonings occur at night, also make sure that your vet is available after hours for cases of emergencies and when the clinic is physically closed.

As soon as you suspect your pet has been poisoned, have someone contact your vet to let them know that you are on your way.

Immediately remove the animal/s from the source of poison and, if possible, take a sample of the poison used with you, to show the vet.

Remember to protect yourself from the poison by wearing rubber gloves, protective clothing and shoes – poisons can be ingested (eaten), but are also inhaled and absorbed through the skin.

Contact the SAPS

The police need to be notified in the case of a poisoning and like with the vet, try to take a sample of the poison used, to hand into the SAPS.

What can I do to help stop my domestic pet from being maliciously poisoned?

Although animals can be targeted at any time of the day, it is usually at night when poisoning occurs, so keeping your pets inside the house during this period is one good way to keep them out of harm’s way.

A dog that is kept outside to ‘guard’ the property is an easy target to be poisoned – especially if they will easily accept food from strangers.

How should deceased pets be disposed of?

If your pet dies because of being poisoned, it is important to remember that the toxin (poison) remains in the body of the deceased animal and they should be incinerated, as incineration temperatures will destroy these toxins.

If this is not possible, then the body of your pet should be buried at least one metre deep and away from water supplies.

Criminal offence

The Boksburg SPCA would like to inform everyone that the poisoning of domestic animals is a criminal offence, that could result in a jail sentence for the perpetrator.

“We know of two separate cases where young children were accidentally poisoned, by picking up bait that their family members had intended to use on domestic animals,” said Maggie.

“Both of these cases resulted in culpable homicide charges being laid.”

The Boksburg SPCA asks that pet owners please be on the lookout for any suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhood; and advise that all information handed to the SPCA will be handled confidentially.

Ischke de Jager

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