Warning to pet owners in Eastbourne, East Sussex

A warning is being issued to pet owners in the Hazelwood Avenue, Brodrick Road, Willington Park Drive and Jordans Lane area of Eastbourne to keep a close eye on pets and to seek veterinary advice as a matter of urgency is they suspect their pets to have picked up poison.

The warning comes after a fox was rescued near Cedar Close yesterday (13th March 2012) with suspected poisoning.

Two ambulances and four rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) were involved in a difficult rescue to catch and secure a poorly fox found in Cedar Close.

"Initially we thought the fox might have been a road casualty, but the speed at which the fox went down hill, and the passing of digested blood and bleeding from around the gums and bruising which started to appear 3-5 hours after rescue we now suspect poisoning. X-rays were taken and a full veterinary assessment was undertaken and no obvious internal damage could be found which you would normally associate with internal bleeding and injuries from a road casualty. The fox was placed on intravenous fluids (a drip) and given Vitamin K1 plus other medication. We cannot be 100% sure it is poisoning but our veterinary advisors have come to the conclusion that it is the most likely cause" explain WRAS founder Trevor Weeks.

"Rat poison and other similar poisons are anti-coagulants, and cause bleeding and bruising. They are extremely hard to deal with and most wildlife cases are normally fatal as you don't get to the casualty at an early enough stage. We normally find with foxes that about 2-5 hours after rescue they start passing digested blood and start bruising and eventually bleeding from the gums and around the mouth, eye lids, ears, nasal cavity as well as from around the genitals and anus, and rapidly go down hill. This fox also had muscle tremors, had an uncoordinated gait during the rescue, fatigue, subnormal temperature, breathing difficulties, and more. Keeping them calm so they don’t move too much is important" said Kate Cuddis Assistant Manager at WRAS's Casualty Care Centre at Whitesmith.

"Sadly our rescued fox died overnight despite our best efforts. We hope that this fox dying may help prevent a local pet dog or cat from suffering. Our worry is that if a fox can pick up the poison then being in a residential area like this it could well be possible for dogs and cats to pick it up too through secondary poisoning by eating a poisoned mouse or rat. It is difficult to be 100% sure, but feel that the situation warrants a warning to local residents in the hope that no pets end up suffering" said Trevor.

Dog rat poison symptoms include:

  • dull
  • reject food
  • saliva is mixed with blood
  • internal bleeding from gums, lung
  • external bleeding from nose (epistaxis), rectum (hematochezia)
  • bright green stool which is caused by eating rat bait pellets
  • bloody urine (hematuria) or stool (melena)
  • blood coagulation
  • fatigue
  • excitation
  • drooling
  • slobbering
  • uncoordinated gait
  • muscle tremors
  • weakness
  • cold
  • inability to stand
  • mild cough
  • lung problems
  • breathing difficulty
  • mental depression
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • coma
  • extensive bruising
  • hair loss

WRAS is urging any pet owners who have concerns to contact their veterinary practice and to seek advice. Suspected poisoning cases should be treated as an emergency and should not wait till morning use your local vets emergency number to seek help.

"WRAS is funded by donations and relies on the generosity of the public to ensure they can respond to emergencies like this. "Pets have insurance and owners to look after them, our wildlife doesn’t so please help support us so we can be there when they need us by making a donation today to help pay for veterinary medicine, treatment and care" said Trevor Weeks.

Anyone wanting to make a donation can donate online or send a donation to East Sussex WRAS, PO Box 2148, Seaford, East Sussex, BN25 9DE.

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Press Contact: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931-523958 (anytime) or 01825 873003 (office hours).

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