The death of a dog this week has fueled worries for Saskatoon pet owners.
The owner of a basset hound that went into seizures and had to be euthanized after a visit to a local off-leash park is convinced her dog was poisoned. The story has made the rounds online, prompting warnings for people to be vigilant while out with their pets.
So far, tests have ruled out strychnine as a cause of death.
Veterinarian Dr. Brian Gibbs said that may not be the end of it.
“If it was some kind of a poisoning and if it was malicious, some of these things are very hard to trace,” he said during an interview on The Brent Loucks Show.
“People want to pet and talk to the dog and try to soothe it, and the more handling and the more talking you do, the more you stimulate seizures.”- Dr. Brian Gibbs
But Gibbs stressed that there could also be a more benign explanation for the sudden incident. He said there are medical conditions that could have been behind the death. He also noted toxic mushrooms and algae that can be fatal if a dog gets into them.
“Dogs drink water out of sloughs with blue-green algae. It’s highly toxic and it can cause death very rapidly, just like strychnine,” he said.
Whatever the cause, Gibbs said he felt heartbroken for the dog’s owner.
Gibbs said that anyone noticing seizures in their dog should get to an animal clinic as quickly as possible. He also recommended calling ahead to let staff know what size dog is coming in, in order to help them prepare.
While he acknowledged it would be hard for a concerned pet owner to do, Gibbs said that with seizures, it’s important to avoid stimulating the animal.
“People want to pet and talk to the dog and try to soothe it, and the more handling and the more talking you do, the more you stimulate seizures,” he said.