DOGS poisoned by lethal substances can be killed in less than 30 seconds and experience "excruciating pain," experts have warned.

We told yesterday how The Scottish SPCA had received reports of more than 54 dog poisoning cases since January 2018.

Pet owners are now being warned to remain vigilant after dog biscuits left in public parks were found to be laced with with nails, staples and anti-freeze.

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This week the Evening Times has been running a special series looking at the impact of the inexplicable crime.

Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn has today told how one case involving deadly rat poison strychnine killed a retriever dog in less than 30 seconds.

He also warned that lethal substances can be as harmful to children as they are pets.

Mike said: "We've had everything from anti-freeze poisoning up to strychnine.

"We had somebody over on a sporting shoot with this very expensive retriever dog, it ate a chicken's head that was laced with strychnine and it died in about 30 seconds. It is lethal.

"If it can kill a dog in 30 seconds, what would have happened if a child had picked it up?

"Some of these poisons could be picked up by kids and some of them can actually be absorbed through the skin.

"So again when you're talking about dumping dangerous materials in a public place, remember it could be a child that picks that up.

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"That's why it's important that if you do see anybody acting suspicious then it's important to contact the police."

The animal welfare boss said poisoning symptoms can be "excruciatingly painful" dog pets who ingest dangerous substances.

Symptoms to look out for include you pet acting unusual, trembling, vomiting, and a loss of coordination.

Mike said: "One of the most popular poisons is anti-freeze, which tends to affect cats more because for some reason they find it quite palatable.

"They come back in and the cat shows signs of totally unnatural behaviour.

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"So if your dog or cat is out of sight and it comes back to you and it acts any way out of character - like starting to be sick or shivering, eyes moving about - get it straight to a vet.

"With anti-freeze if you get there quick enough you can kind of put an antidote in and try and limit the damage that's done.

"But if you're not quick enough it just burns them away from the inside - it's a disgusting and excruciatingly painful death.

"They also hallucinate so it's horrible for the owner to see but it's absolutely disgusting and painful for the animal."

Vets in Glasgow say the most common emergencies they have to deal with are pet poisonings.

Based at the renowned emergency Vets Now Glasgow Hospital, Tobias Grave is a veterinary specialist in Emergency in Critical Care in small animals.

He said antifreeze is the number one form of poisoning for animals and that it's "extremely toxic."

Tobias said: “Pet poisonings are one of the most common emergencies our vets and vet nurses see.

"Our statistics show around nine in 10 of these happen accidentally while pets are in their own home.

"We do treat poisoning cases from time to time which unfortunately appear to have been deliberate, but there has not been a noticeable uplift in the cases we have treated in the past year at our Glasgow Hospital.

“In saying that, pet owners should always be vigilant when outdoors with your pet in public spaces."

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Tobias reiterated the fact that the most common signs your pet may have been poisoned include lethargy, loss of appetite, restlessness, gastrointestinal irritation, leading to vomiting and/or diarrhoea, staggering, disorientation and convulsions that can lead to a comatose state.

Tragically, the survival rate is very low if the kidneys have been damaged and cats and dogs often have to be put to sleep.

The critical care specialist warned: “The type of treatment depends on the toxin ingested.

"If the type of poison is uncertain, these patients would be treated symptomatically with the aim to maintain normal function of the organs until the poison has been processed out of the body. If your pet has ingested a solid object a vet can induce vomiting if needed, if the object is sharp e.g. razor blades, then surgery may be required.”

“If you do suspect your pet has been poisoned then you should call your vet or, out of hours, the Vets Now emergency hospital in Glasgow. If your pet is treated immediately after exposure it generally has a far better outcome.

“Antifreeze is extremely toxic to dogs and cats, they are not adverse to the taste and therefore might drink it accidentally.


"The first sign you see may be that your pet is very quiet and still, there may be vomiting and wobbliness or falling over as if drunk. This may progress to symptoms such as breathing difficulties, as well as twitching eyes and muscles. having a fit, and kidney pain as the kidneys start to fail. "Any free roaming cat that looks “wobbly” should be checked by a vet."

He continued: "The toxic substances work very quick, so the only chance of any good outcome depends on immediate treatment. Your pet will, however, need intensive treatment."