An Amherst veterinarian is urging pet owners to always be aware of their animal’s surroundings.
This after three dogs in five days came down with a sudden illness that brought about seizures.
“The first case involved a dog that was walking with its owner at the golf club and on the way home in the car began to seize. It was put in a drug-induced coma and just got well enough to go home,” Carolyn Hollis said. “It was a long process and it was a close call.”
Just as the first dog was recovering someone came in with two more dogs that were also experiencing seizures, one was in full seizure and the other was simply tremoring.
The veterinarian said staff were able to evacuate the bowels of the dog that was experiencing tremors.
Upon investigation by one of the owners it was determined there was something at the golf course making the dogs sick.
“One of the owners retraced her steps and found an open plastic lunch container with rotten food in it that someone had disposed there,” Hollis said. “It was in the woods away from one of the tees. It was just left there.”
The veterinary hospital hasn't determined for sure if the food container is the cause.
Hollis said many would not understand the danger presented to animals by leaving open containers of food lying around. In this case, the food was rotten and the dogs were attracted to it. When they ingested it, they took in some pretty powerful neurotoxins that easily could have killed them.
“Rotting food and things like the mold that comes with it can be extremely toxic to animals,” she said. “Composting food is very dangerous.”
She estimates it was 30 minutes from the time the dogs ingested the food until they began experiencing seizures.
The veterinarian said the dogs were saved by the owners’ quick thinking in getting the animals to the veterinary hospital.
In no way is she blaming the golf course since it is private property, and any spraying it would’ve done would’ve been completed several months ago, but she is urging those who use the course and public areas around the community to be aware of what they do with items of food after they’re finished.
The golf course is sometimes popular with people walking their dogs, at least until deep snow prevents it. With a lack of snow so far this winter the club has been used by dog owners since their pets can run free and get some exercise.
“There are lots of garbage receptacles at the golf course just as there are around town, please use them,” she said. “Owners also need to be aware of where their dogs are at all times and what they may be getting into or eating.”
The best advice, she said, is to keep their dog on a leash unless they are absolutely aware of the surroundings.