Even the most devoted of pet owners cannot keep their animals safe one hundred percent of the time. We try our best, but pets are curious, adventurous, and sometimes blissfully unaware of the dangers lurking in the great big world.
We’ve heard frightening tales of dogs being bitten by poisonous snakes. We’ve heard stories of mysterious diseases that leave pets paralyzed.
Sometimes, our furry friends are able to fight their way back to health.
Other times, our beloved animals pass away, leaving owners guilt-ridden, grieving, and unable to change the outcome.
It should have been a happy summer day for a 3-year-old Border Collie from Larimer County, Colorado.
The pup and her owner went out for a romp around Horsetooth Reservoir, where the pup could splash in the water and enjoy the great outdoors.
But suddenly, the Border Collie wasn’t looking so well. “It started to go down rapidly with losing all the functions and she passed out,” recalled Ludi Fischer, a friend of the dog’s owner.
The dog couldn’t stand up on her own, and started panting very heavily, according to Fischer. “Her eyes were out — I mean you could tell she wasn’t there.”
The dog’s owner rushed her pup to the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Sadly, the dog passed away before reaching the clinic.
Unbeknownst to the dog’s owner, the Border Collie had ingested a highly toxic and life-threatening plant while on her walk.
Water hemlock, native to the area, can cause drooling, muscle twitching, seizures, and even death — and this pup died within just one hour of consumption.
“Water hemlock is one of the most lethal plants in North America,” said Dr. Dawn Duval, Department of Clinical Sciences associate professor at Colorado State University.
“It’s a plant that grows in very moist areas, around ditches and lakes.”
“This dog just got unlucky and kind of started playfully chewing on a plant that it shouldn’t be chewing,” Duval expressed.
“Water hemlock is not a plant that would be particularly appealing to dogs.”
While this family has to grapple with the sudden loss of their pet, the pup’s story can help save other four-legged friends and people — who are also susceptible to the lethal plant.
Larimer County will likely place educational signage around the reservoir area to help people identify the white-flowered plant.