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Tag: poisonous

Strychnine meatballs killing Spokane dogs

Poisoned meatballs are believed to have killed three dogs in a Spokane neighborhood last week

Several more batches were found Monday on streets in the South Hill neighborhood, KREM-TV reported, though no more pets were reported to have died or fallen ill.

On Friday, one woman saw her dog eat some meatballs on the street and then go into convulsions before dying. A man also had two of his dogs die Friday after eating the meatballs.

Washington State University veterinarians tested a meatball found near the woman’s property last week and confirmed the harmful chemical strychnine was found in it.

Local animal welfare agencies are investigating the incidents and urging pet owners to watch closely over their pets while outside.

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the poisonings.

Mulch law gets buried in Minnesota

Minnesota’s legislature was on the verge of passing a simple little law — requiring retailers to post signs warning consumers that cocoa mulch can be fatal to dogs — when the governor stepped in and vetoed it.

Why? Because, he said, it was an example of “legislative overreach.”

“I share the goal that we should take reasonable precautions to protect our pets,” Gov. Tim Pawlenty wrote. “However, it is unreasonable to ask all retailers to post signs at the point of purchase for such products.

“A better approach would be to require manufacturers to post warning labels on the products themselves, where necessary and appropriate. We should also supplement efforts to protect our pets by raising public awareness regarding products that are potentially harmful to them.”

The law, nicknamed ”Moose’s Law“ for a chocolate Lab who died after ingesting cocoa bean shell mulch, was authored by state Sen. Scott Dibble. It would have required businesses selling the mulch to post signs, warning that the product is potentially poisonous to pets, and advising them to contact a veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center if a pet eats it.

Moose belonged to Terry and Dawn Hall who moved to Minneapolis from Atlanta, and laid down the mulch while landscaping their yard in the summer of 2007.

“The package said it was organic,” Terry Hall says. “It was nice and dark, and we thought that would look really good.”

A couple of days later, on a boat on the St. Croix River, they threw a Frisbee into the water for Moose to retrieve. He dove in and never came up. They spotted his body floating beneath the surface of the water.

Learn more about cocoa bean shell mulch here.

Australian dog food recalled in China

A brand of pet food from Australia is being pulled off store shelves in China after reports of dogs being sickened by it, CNN has reported.

Natural Pet Corporation, the distributor for Optima dog food from Australia, ordered a recall, according to the company’s general manager in Shanghai.

Reports of sick animals have been coming into Edis Pet Supply Company in Shanghai, a retailer selling Optima dog food. Veterinarians have told Edis of four dogs poisoned by aflatoxin after eating Optima products, but dozens of other dog poisoning have been reported in the Chinese media.

Aflatoxin attacks the liver in several animal species. Although rare in many parts of the world, the fungi that produce aflatoxins can contaminate cereal grains often used in pet foods.

Zhang said Natural Pet Corporation is aware of the reports of sick dogs and that the products are being tested.

In 2007, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recalled more than 150 brands of cat and dog food after finding that some pets became ill or died after eating food tainted with melamine, a chemical commonly used in coatings and laminates, adhesives, fabric coatings, ceiling tiles and flame retardants. Contaminated additives used in the pet food came from China.

Two Chinese businesses, a U.S. company and top executives of each were indicted by a federal grand jury in February in connection with tainted pet food, which resulted in deaths and serious illnesses in up to thousands of U.S. pets.

EV-uh-oh: Is Rachael Ray poisoning our dogs?

The quick answer is no. Despite a recent boo boo — actually a boo boo repeated from 2006 — in one of her “dog-friendly” recipes, Rachel Ray, whether you find her endearing or annoying, appears to be a true dog person, dog lover and dog philanthropist.

That one of her recipes — reprinted alongside a profile of Ray in this month’s Modern Dog magazine — calls for onions, which can be toxic to dogs, was an unfortunate oversight, a result of either the conflicting information that’s out there or a reflection of Ray’s learning curve when it comes to canines.

The recipe in question, “Isaboo’s Butternut Squash Mac and Cheddar,” originally appeared in Ray’s own magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, which runs a “pet friendly” recipe in every issue — a meal you can make for both you and your dog to eat.

The macaroni and cheese dish, which calls for half an onion, was the first of those to appear in the magazine, back in March 2006.

Ray also has her own dog food company, Rachael Ray Nutrish, some of the profits from which go to her own rescue organization, as she’s quick to point out on her website:

“There are no fillers.  No junk.  Just lots of good, wholesome stuff. How cool is that? And you know me.  I’m all about giving back, so some of the proceeds from Rachael Ray Nutrish go to charities that take care of animals who have no one else to look out for them.  Wow.  How good do you feel now?”

But back to poisoning dogs.

After the onion episode came to light, we went back and checked all the “dog-friendly” recipes Ray has published in her magazine, starting in April 2006 — all 27 of them — and we’re pleased to report that none of them are likely to kill your dog.

True, some of them call for avocados, which are toxic to dogs, and scallions, which are toxic to dogs, and nutmeg, high levels of which can result in seizures, tremors, central nervous system problems and death.

But almost always those recipes point out — either in the ingredient list or in the directions — to use those items only in the human portions.

Read more »

Xylitol can kill your dog

Nearly three years have passed since the link was discovered, but veterinarians and animal welfare groups are still working to get the word out: Xylitol, a sugar substitute increasingly found in sugar-free cookies, mints and chewing gum – including Orbit, Trident, Spree and Altoids — can be highly toxic, even fatal, to dogs.

The sweetener, long popular in Europe and relatively new in the U.S., can be “very, very serious” to dogs when ingested, according to the Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Two or three sticks of gum with xylitol can kill a 20 pound dog, the ASPCA says.

“It doesn’t take a whole lot, and the effects are so rapid that the window of opportunity to treat the dog is extremely small,” said ASPCA spokesperson Dana Farbman.

The ASPCA sent an advisory to veterinarians two years ago warning them about the potential for serious harm or death. But as with chocolate, grapes and raisins — all of which can be toxic to dogs — there are still dog owners who don’t know the dangers.

Within 30 minutes of consuming a small amount of a xylitol-sweetened product, the ASPCA says, dogs experience a dramatic drop in blood sugar, begin vomiting, become lethargic and can have difficulty standing or walking.  Some have seizures, develop internal hemorrhaging and lesions and suffer liver failure.

USA Today wrote about the dangers of xylitol to dogs last year. At that time the ASPCA’s poison control unit was aware of 10 dog deaths from xylitol since 2002, and it has received scores of reports of dogs becoming gravely ill.

But the organization believes that represents only a small fraction of the cases.

Xylitol is derived from birch tree bark, beets, corncobs and other natural sources. Unlike sugar, xylitol does not require insulin to be metabolized, so it’s popular in cookies, candies, cupcakes and other sweets developed for people who have diabetes

To learn more about xylitol, check out this article from Veterinary Medicine, reprinted by the ASPCA.

To see the ASPCA’s original press release warning about the dangers of xylitol, click here.