A MILNATHORT couple have issued a warning to fellow dog owners after their own beloved pet became dangerously ill by ingesting rock salt spread on pavements during the cold snap.
Khan, a 10-year-old rescue crossbreed once dubbed ‘the unluckiest dog in Perth’ after suffering a series of misfortunes, has cost owners Steve and Liz Hartley hundreds of pounds in vets’ bills since suddenly being struck down in January.
After just one day playing in the snow. his paws became cracked and sore and he became increasingly lethargic, eventually developing liver failure.
“He was perfectly fine one day and the next he was so ill he couldn’t move,” said Liz.
“At first I thought it might be distemper because of the state of his paws, but the vet ruled that out.
“Khan is still having tests as we haven’t had a definite diagnosis, but she did say that some dogs can be affected by the chemicals in the salt the council put down during cold weather.
“It certainly looks to me as if he’s been poisoned.”
Now Khan is on a cocktail of pills and making a slow recovery, even taking short walks wearing special shoes to protect his pads.
“The whole experience has been a nightmare,” said Liz.
“While we can’t say for sure that the rock salt is to blame, we feel the council should be warning people that their pets may be affected.”
Khan, a German shepherd/collie cross, hit the headlines as a young dog after being thrown from the window of a moving car on to the M90 motorway.
He was taken to PADS - Perthshire Abandoned Dogs Society - but was re-homed unsuccessfully twice before settling happily with the Hartleys seven years ago.
According to animal charities, some dogs and cats are susceptible to poisoning from road salt - occasionally with fatal results - and it’s vital that owners clean their paws after they’ve been out in the snow.
However a spokesman for the local authority said Khan’s had been the first case of its kind that had been heard of in Perth and Kinross.
“Our Roads Maintenance Partnership has been using a salt/sand mix over much of the winter, so the concentration of salt has been reduced,” he said.
“The salt used is natural rock salt that complies with BS 3247, and we also comply with the Well Maintained Highways Code of Practice in terms of winter treatment.“
“We sincerely hope that the dog in this case makes a full recovery.”