Strychnine suspected in death of second dog

A second Kentwood-area dog has died in a suspected intentional strychnine poisoning.

A second Kentwood-area dog has died in a suspected intentional strychnine poisoning.

Lana Keating, owner and veterinarian at Parkland Veterinary Hospital, suspects that the deadly toxin strychnine killed the two dogs.

“I would be very worried in Red Deer if my dog was in the backyard,” said Keating. “They should be watched even in their backyards.”

Kentwood resident Meghan Elgert’s Maltese-Yorkie died after eating what may have been chicken laced with strychnine on May 23. Her other dog, a Labrador-shepherd cross, was also sick but survived the poisoning.

Another Kentwood dog died on Tuesday.

Keating said her hospital has treated all three dogs. They showed symptoms such as rapid seizures that are consistent with strychnine poisoning.

“We haven’t proven it is poison but they are all very circumstantial that they have the same signs,” said Keating. “Unfortunately, it’s a very, deadly, deadly poison.”

Keating said it is very unfortunate that dogs are not even safe in their own backyards.

The toxin is typically used to kill gophers and other rodents.

“It is devastating,” said Keating. “This is a high dose of a toxin substance. It is not something that makes them sick for a while. This is a lethal dose.”

Keating said it is unusual to see strychnine poisoning in an urban setting and that leads her to believe it was intentional.

Cedarwood Veterinary Hospital has sent a sample of the first dog’s stomach contents to a lab. The results are expected in about a week.

Keating said the poison works quickly, in 10 to 60 minutes, and produces rapid seizures and death. She said the smaller the dog, the less the dog needs to consume for the poison to work.

She said it is very difficult to reverse the damage.

“I am fairly alarmed,” said Keating. “People should be walking their dogs on a leash and do not leave them in the backyard. All of these cases could have been in the backyard.”

In the last five days, Red Deer RCMP have received two complaints of dogs being poisoned in the Kentwood neighbourhood. The first complaint came in on May 22 when a resident reported that her two dogs had become ill and were believed to have been poisoned. RCMP verified that the symptoms the dogs suffered were consistent with poisoning.

On Tuesday, RCMP received a second report where a resident of Kentwood suspected his dog had been poisoned, resulting in its death.

Police have no suspects or leads.

Pet owners concerned about an animal’s health should contact their veterinarian.

If you have any information about the two dog deaths, call Red Deer RCMP at 403-343-5575. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or report it online at www.tipsubmit.com.

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