I wish I never had to write this post, but since my Labrador nearly died from ingesting poison in a Lima park this week, I must share what I’ve learned to alert other pet owners.
Crying or laughing? Schoolchildren react to poisoned dog in street (photo courtesy Dr. G, www.hermanoperro-hermanogato.blogspot.com)
A surprising number of people in Peru like to kill dogs and cats with veneno(poison). Municipalities such as Barranco and Miraflores use highly toxic insecticides in public gardens that routinely poison pets. And poisoning a dog or cat is not a crime in Peru.
El Fotografo and El Hijo took Lola to Leoncio Prado park, in Miraflores, to play fetch on Wednesday. They had her running after the ball, something she never tires of, for more than half an hour, when Lola chased la pelota into the edge of a flowerbed.
She grabbed the ball with her snout, turned around and stopped in her tracks. She backed up two steps and vomited in the grass, heaved some more, and barfed up another batch of liquid.
Her sides were heaving and she weaved all over the grass, nose twitching. EF and EH walked her home, where she collapsed in the backyard. She lay there breathing rapidly, eyes closed, and I screamed for EF to drive her to the vet. We had to carry her to the car in a blanket.
Ten minutes later, Lola lay on the examination table as the vet probed her mouth and felt her stomach. One side of her mouth was swollen and her gums and skin around the eyes were all white — signs of poisoning, he said. She was in shock. He injected her with Cortisone, antibiotic and something to calm her stomach. After several minutes she began to breath normally and she looked at us with recognition.
Several days later, after more antibiotics, Gatorade and TLC, Lola is back to normal. We’re not sure what Lola ingested — plant insecticide, rat poison, a poisoned piece of meat left by a vindictive neighbor. The vet doesn’t know either.
It’s shocking to see a healthy animal go from lively to comatose in the space of 30 seconds. What’s even more shocking is that poisoning episodes like this happen routinely in Peru.
I began hearing from Peruvians about poisoned “bocados” (mouthfuls) as soon as I posted about the incident on Twitter and Facebook, Wednesday.
Peruvian PhD student Giancarlo tweeted from Japan that he’d “lost three dogs to ‘bocado’ in Lima… (>_<). EF’s relatives warned that they’d had dogs die of poisoned meat left on the sidewalk. Fellow blogger Stuart Starrs remarked that “people enjoy putting out poison, it’s a popular hobby in Peru.”
Even El Hijo’s best friend from school sadly reported that his poodle died in this way last year, after snarfing up rat poison while being walked by the maid in San Isidro.
Health standards are so low in Peru that there is little to no control of poisons in this country — an alarming situation for anyone, Peruvian or foreign, who keeps a pet here. The so-called tradition of poisoning dogs has even created a black market for pet poisons, as various Latin American newspapers have reported.
A Peruvian company El Jazmines is marketing 100-gram packets of “El Asesino” — single-dose servings of poison for rats, dogs and cats. I haven’t seen this product for sale in Peru, but then again, until this week I wasn’t looking. The powerful poison induces a violent death by vomiting and then asphyxiation, reported El Mercurio de Calama last year. El Asesino, Perrofin and similar poisons also pose grave risks to human beings.
The Chilean newspaper reported that the Chilean health ministry had raised an alert in that country last year, after two salesmen were caught selling the illegal product at Chilean fairs.
None of the preliminary searches I’ve done on the Internet has indicated that Peru forbids the manufacture or sale of these products.
So this is a great position for an expat dog owner to be in. I’m raising a dog in a country where public demand for pet poisons has spawned an industry of grab-and-go poison packs. Poison is so readily available and used so indiscriminately, *24 children died in the Andes from eating a government-issued breakfast spiked with a crop poison in October 1999. Similar poisonings have happened in Ecuador.
If you own in dog in Peru, you should be alarmed. At least familiarize yourself with the symptoms of poisoning in dogs and have a good vet nearby.
Leave a comment if you or someone you know has lost a pet to this cruel practice.
*original link unavailable
Amazon CARES would like to thank Ms. Drake for allowing us to share her blog with you. Her story underscores the importance of Humane Education in Peru.
Personal Note by Director Molly Mednikow: I brought my American dog, Sydney, to live with me in Perú, and she was the victim of poisoning. The feeling of helplessness is gut-wrenching. Luckily, I was in a position to get her help very quickly. I cried as she convulsed and vomited as the CARES vet flushed her system with IV fluids. Sydney survived, but I remember swearing that if she was ever poisoned again, I would leave Perú. That is a significant statement from me. Sydney was not poisoned again, but she did die and early and unnatural death from an infectious disease not common in the US. I will always feel guilty for this. Like Brando from the previous post, rest in piece my beloved Sydney.