MANITOWANING – A Manitowaning woman, who has asked to go unnamed, is mourning the loss of her beloved dog this week following a suspected poisoning.
Collie, a border collie, would have been 13 this month. His owner has a birthday next month.
“I got him as a puppy,” she told The Expositor. “He was a wonderful, wonderful friend. I thought we would grow old together.”
Collie was not one to wander very far. He and his owner took regular walks together, on-leash, but the farthest he would venture off-leash, she said, was to a vacant lot located to the rear of his property and to the next door neighbour’s, who were used to his visits.
“We went out every morning before 7 am, rain or shine, snow or sleet,” she recalled.
On Friday, March 29, Collie was outside under the watchful eye of his master when she saw him choking and coughing. She got him inside and still he coughed. Collie’s master figured he had gotten something lodged in his throat that would work its way out. All weekend the dog coughed. On Sunday Collie’s master called friends to ask for advice. No one knew what could be the matter.
By Monday morning Collie began to cough up phlegm with traces of blood and the vet was called straight away. By Monday afternoon the dog was at Island Animal Hospital in Mindemoya and upon examination the vet proclaimed that the dog was likely suffering from poisoning, and the most obvious suspect was rat poison.
While Collie initially looked like he might rally, his situation soon became stark and the decision was made to put him down.
“It’s hard, very hard,” she said of her loss.
Dr. Johanne Paquet of Island Animal Hospital told The Expositor that she was quite sure, but not 100 percent, that the dog had been poisoned. She explained that the dog’s lungs had been filled with blood, as was its urine—indicative of poison.
“It is one of the more common toxins that we treat,” Dr. Paquet added, noting that dogs, like the rodents, are attracted to the scent.
If a poisoned animal is treated in time, the effects can be reversed through the administration of Vitamin K. Vitamin K, the veterinarian explained, is naturally occurring in our, and dogs’, bodies. Once a poison is ingested, a typical Vitamin K store is depleted within three to seven days. After that, the poison causes internal bleeding as the blood-clotting properties of Vitamin K are now gone.
If you know a dog or cat has been exposed, Dr. Paquet said it’s crucial to get them to a vet so they might begin the process of administering Vitamin K. Blood transfusions are another possibility.
“My brain has been working overtime every day; I’m thinking, thinking,” Collie’s owner said. The dog’s owner said she has come to the conclusion that the poison was brought to the area by crows who inadvertently dropped the poison bait while flying overhead. She believes the actual poisoning occurred on the property of an unoccupied home in the downtown Manitowaning area.
“Whoever puts out rat poison was clearly not thinking and did not care,” she continued, urging people who walk their dogs along Manitowaning’s main streets to be ever vigilant about what their canine friend might be eating or sniffing and to be on the lookout for dead crows.
“When I heard the news of it, it alarmed me,” Manitowaning animal activist Robert Maguire told The Expositor. “I hope it was not an act of malice.”
Mr. Maguire said it was important to raise the alarm no matter the reasoning behind the tragedy. “She uses the same streets to walk her dog that many others do,” he said.
“We don’t want to see it happen again,” Mr. Maguire added. “To me, pets are our family members.”