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Dogs Poisoned at Dog Show: How Can You Spot the Signs of Poison?

Posted March 16, 2015 in A Vet's Life

Irish setter at dog show

Recently, the Huffington Post reported that several dogs (including a Shih Tzu, West Highland white terrier and an Afghan hound) became ill at the Crufts Dog Show in Birmingham, England. According to the Daily Beast, show veterinarians expressed concern that some of these dogs may have been poisoned.

One of the show dogs, an award-winning Irish setter commonly known as Jagger, collapsed and died shortly after returning back home to Belgium. On autopsy, beef laced with poison was found within the stomach of Jagger.

While we don’t know if Jagger’s death was a result of malicious poisoning or not (toxicology laboratory tests are still pending), what I do know is that poisons don’t typically cause acute, sudden death.

As an emergency-critical-care veterinary specialist and toxicologist, I can attest that most poisons cause more obvious clinical signs first, such as vomiting, hyperactivity, panting, a racing heart rate and tremors or seizures. Sudden death is rarely seen with poisonings, as more apparent clinical signs are typically seen first.

When in doubt, it’s always important to monitor your dog for any signs that warrant an emergency visit to the veterinarian, even if it’s in the middle of the night.

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Justine has more than 18 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is a board-certified emergency critical care veterinary specialist and toxicologist as well as the CEO and founder of Vetgirl. She is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.

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