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Health warning for dog owners about nicotine

Posted by: Tim Berrisford  Date: 23/03/2014   Category: Blog

A dog in Cornwall has unfortunately died after eating a bottle of nicotine laced liquid which is used for electronic cigarettes.

Owner Keith Sutton had started to use electronic cigarettes in a bid to cut down his habit which work by heating up a liquid that shortly turns to vapour when you use the cigarette.

The 14 week old Staffordshire bull terrier Ivy reached up on top of the dining table and bit into the bottle of liquid.

Immediately, Ivy started frothing at the mouth and vomiting uncontrollably. Keith rushed Ivy to the vets for an emergency appointment where she was treated with large doses of steroids however unfortunately died the following day from nicotine poisoning.

Keith now wants others to learn from his experience and see e-liquid become a controlled substance. He explained even a small amount is deadly, He said: “I peered round the corner from the kitchen and the dog was on the floor with the bottle of e-liquid. She had chewed it and pierced the plastic container. She had only ingested the tiniest amount but by the time I picked her up she was frothing at the mouth. I attempted to cool her down with cold water but I don’t know any dog first aid, I just did whatever came into my mind. Her tongue was blue, her lips were blue. She messed herself, and then she vomited.”

Nicotine is highly poisonous to both humans and animals; it just varies in the amount each body can handle. When nicotine poisoning occurs, it induces muscle spasms and seizures following by vomiting. In fatal cases of nicotine poisoning it interferes with the nervous system and causes failure of the respiratory system.

Keith did the right thing taking Ivy to the vets immediately; however the vet could not save her. ‘When we got there the vet went on to the veterinary websites but couldn’t find anything about nicotine poisoning. He eventually went away and got an old book on poisons. He shook his head and told us it wasn’t good. They said the first 12 hours were critical and we received a call after 12 and a half hours saying she had passed away. Her lungs and heart had given up.’

Keith uses Ekarma Vaporiser fuelled by the liquid ‘K-liquid’. The liquid contains several chemicals and whilst it would take a large amount to poison a human, a dog would only need to ingest 10 milligrams per kilogram of the animal’s weight to be in danger.

If you believe your pet has eaten any amount to nicotine, whether this is a normal cigarette or an e-cigarette takes them to the vets immediately.