Friday, July 12, 2024

Three Clarendon dogs die suddenly

When Phil Holmes found his family’s dog Betty lying comatose on his farm in Clarendon on Sunday morning, he knew something was wrong.
“Whatever it was, it hit her fast because she was about 30 feet away from her normal place to rest on our porch,” Holmes told THE EQUITY. Holmes said her vital signs were normal but she was completely unresponsive, which he said suggested a neurotoxin was involved.
“Obviously, I decided to take her to the vet right away.”
While Holmes originally suspected poisoning, several blood tests at an animal hospital in Ottawa found nothing abnormal.
“The test results came back completely clean,” Holmes said. “There were no toxins showing up in the blood.”
But Betty never recovered. By Tuesday morning she passed away.
Betty was not the only Clarendon dog to become suddenly ill and die over the weekend, with no obvious cause.
On Saturday morning, just a stone’s throw down Front Road from Holmes’ farm, Andrew Simms and Donna Courchesne discovered their two young dogs in exactly the same condition as Holmes’ dog.
They were a great pyrenees-golden retriever mix, siblings less than a year old, and by Sunday afternoon they had died.
Neither Holmes nor Simms and Courchesne have any confirmed cause for their dogs’ deaths.
While Holmes admits he originally feared some malintent was involved, that his dog may have been intentionally poisoned, to his relief, her blood work has proved otherwise.
But one conversation with Cobden vet Blake Carson, who is originally from Sand Bay, offered a new explanation of . . .

what might have caused these deaths.
Carson did not see any of the three dogs who became suddenly ill, but based on Holmes’ description to him over the phone, he said poisoning from blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria toxicity, might be at play.
“Nobody knows much about it, and it’s very hard to diagnose,” Carson told THE EQUITY, explaining that actually identifying the toxic bacteria as the culprit involves sending tissues to university or pathology labs for testing.
He said while it’s toxic to anybody that consumes it, dogs are more prone to ingesting it as they drink from pools of standing water, prime breeding grounds for the bacteria.
Carson explained blue-green algae blooms typically develop a little later in the summer season, thanks to the right combination of heat, rain, and nutrient runoff from agricultural fertilizers, but that a bloom in June, given the heat and rain the region has seen in recent weeks, is not impossible.
“It’s a bit early in the season, but the death of three dogs all seems related, especially when they are young, healthy, and without any obvious physical injuries,” Carson said. “It’s got to be on the table. It’s got to be considered.”