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Dog Dies After Eating Mystery Substance on Beach

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1:14pm 17th December 2013
(Updated 1:14pm 17th December 2013)

A dog has died after eating a mystery substance washed up on one of Cornwall's most popular beaches.

Warning signs are going up at Polzeath, urging people to keep an eye on children and their pets.

If this sounds familiar it is because another dog died after eating rancid cooking oil near Penzance back in October.

Tasha regularly walks her dogs on the beach. She said: "It's quite a concern when you've got two small dogs and you don't know what they could pick up. It's quite a scary thought really."

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: "Following reports of white and yellow waxy substances being washed up on a number of South Cornwall beaches in October, the Council has been informed of a similar white waxy substance being washed up on Polzeath beach. 

"The authority was informed of the incident following the death of a dog on 11 December and immediately erected warning signs on the beach. This is the 14th report of substances being washed up on beaches in Cornwall over the past two months and staff from the Council are working closely with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Environment Agency and Natural England to monitor the situation and are on stand by to take further action if required.

"Members of the public are asked to report any sightings of substances being washed up on any beach in Cornwall to the Council as quickly as possible and to ensure that children and dogs are kept away from the material."

Vets are reassuring owners not to worry too much though. Wadebridge vet LIzzy Whiting said: "Dogs will scavenge unfortunately, so it's a case of being observant and trying to keep them away from things they shouldn't be eating. If they do eat it, generally it will cause a mild gastro-intestinal upset. So, they may vomit, they may have diahorrea, they may be a bit off colour, which is fairly typical for a dog that's eaten something it should not have done. Potentially they can become dehydrated, potentially they can get an inflammation of the pancreas and they can get pancreatitis, which can be more serious. They can also get high fat levels in their blood which, with dogs that have an underlying problem, again can be more serious.

"It would be more of a problem if a dog had another condition at the same time so general advice is just be observant. Its case of knowing what the tide is doing and what's been washed up. Keep the dogs on a lead and be aware and if you're seeing the white substance come off the beach. It's just using your common sense.

"As far as we're aware it isn't a deadly poison - it's something that will cause a mild upset in some dogs with and underlying condition it will cause something more serious. But whatever - if your dogs' eaten something it shouldn't have done bring it to the vet. We would much rather see it sooner rather than later. Rather than sit at home and worry - contact u and we will give advice and see your animals."

1:14pm 17th December 2013

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