Warning to pet owners after cat and dog deaths

Published on: 06 Jul 2016

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A CAT owner is warning people with pets to be vigilant after she believes her beloved cat Smouse was poisoned.

Meanwhile dog owners are also being asked to be on the alert for stagnant water after three dogs are said to have died from eating poisonous blue-green algae.

Smouse was put down by a vet at the animal charity PDSA after owner Sarah Jade, who lives off St John’s Lane near Victoria Park, was told he had probably eaten rat poison.

“I just want to earn people to look out for early warning signs,” she said. “Rat poison doesn’t take effect for a couple of weeks. A week before he went missing, Smouse was sick, and I didn’t think anything of it.”

The cat was normally home-loving and would come inside when called, said Sarah.

“He was missing for five days and when he came back he was really weak, dehydrated and foaming at the mouth. I tried to spoon him water and feed him chicken and fish but he was’t interested.”

Sarah, who was short of money because her rent had just gone up, went to the PDSA on Bath Road where Smouse was treated for free. She is so grateful that she intends to hold a fund-
raising event for the charity. 

She fears the poisoning may have been deliberate: four cats belonging to the same family died nearby in Bedminster in 2013, victims of what was thought to be ham laced with anti-freeze.

Vet Paul Vokes at the Avon Lodge veterinary practice in Wells Road, Knowle, said he had not heard of any pets being poisoned recently and said when it did happen, it was usually accidental, not malicious.

“Poisoning is a thing that’s hard to prove,” he said. Toxicology tests are possible but expensive, and do not always identify a poison.

Pets have been known to eat rat poison, slug pellets and anti-freeze, he said. Each has its own symptoms (see panel). 

Dog owners are being warned not to let their dogs jump into or drink from stagnant water this summer after three dogs died from eating blue-green algae.

The deaths were reported to have taken place in South Bristol by The Vet practice at Hengrove, although the practice was unable to say where.

The algae can kill a dog within 15 minutes, causing muscle tremors, vomiting, diarrhoea or seizures.

Death from eating algae is very rare. “I don’t think I have ever treated a case, but it is a real issue,” said Mr Vokes. “It tends to happen in the late summer when there has been no rain and the water level drops.

“It can happen very quickly – the bloom of the algae can form within a couple of days.”

Still water can also present another fatal hazard, leptospirosis, although this can be prevented by vaccination.


Dog owners are warned not to let their dogs drink from stagnant or slow-moving water, especially if there is algae present.

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