E-cigs can be fatal to dogs, a Cumbrian vet has warned after having to put an animal down. The stark message came from Laura McKirdy, a vet at Dalston-based Paragon Veterinary Group, near Carlisle, after she had to put down a dog which had chewed on its owner’s device.
She said: “I don’t know how much nicotine is in an e-cigarette but for a dog that might weigh about 20 or 30kg (around 44 or 66lbs), it is a huge amount.” She warned that dogs chewing on the devices can cause an overdose on the drug, with potentially devastating effects. The drug causes their hearts to speed up and raises their blood pressure to dangerously high levels and Mrs McKirdy is worried dog owners aren’t aware of the problem and may leave e-cigs lying around for dogs to find. “They also salivate a lot, just drooling and drooling,” added Mrs McKirdy. She also said the drug may also have an effect on the animal’s brain.
The dog she put down – which was a cross breed – had very poor co-ordination and was sensitive to light, sound and touch. It would tremble and overreact to changes around it as a result. “The dog had a racing heart – it was just a massive overdose,” she said. The effects of the overdose can set in extremely quickly. It took less than a week for from when the dog chewed on the e-cig until it was put down. “The dog was absolutely fine, it was a really happy and healthy dog then in just a few days this can happen,” she warned.
Mrs McKirdy believes the dog may have been looking for something to play with when it picked up the e-cigarette. She urged people to treat the devices the way they would treat drugs or medicines. “You wouldn’t leave an e-cigarette lying around for your children to find so don’t leave it lying around your dog,” she said. “Keep them out of reach of animals as well as children.”