A dog owner has issued a warning to others after her Labrador almost died from chewing an asthma inhaler.
Claire Tyrrell’s dog Pickle fell ill very quickly after puncturing an inhaler with her tooth.
Vets thought initially she had heart disease or a tumour around her heart, warning Claire they may have to perform open heart surgery.
But it turned out that Pickle had been poisoned by salbutamol toxins when her teeth punctured the inhaler canister, puffing about 200 doses into her eyes.
From there it travelled quickly into the rest of her body with near fatal consequences.
Claire has issued a warning telling anyone who uses blue inhalers or keeps them in their home, car, bags or pockets to take care they are kept out of reach of pets.
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Claire explained: “Our bouncy, beautiful dog Pickle got very poorly with sudden lethargy, very fast heavy breathing and hardly about to open her eyes.
“I rushed her to the vets and told them there were no signs at home of her having eaten anything she shouldn’t have while I’d been out for about an hour and a half.
“The vet was unsure exactly what was wrong but said Pickle was in a lot of pain – she just flaked out on the vets floor and her normally waggy tail stayed very still.
“She had blood tests and X-rays but within two hours of her symptoms appearing, the vet called to say they were struggling to stabilise Pickle and an ultrasound now showed fluid around her heart and a heart murmur.
“They believed it was either a heart disease or a tumour around her heart and warned me they may have to perform open heart surgery on her.
“But at the end of the call the vet wanted to double check she couldn’t have eaten anything toxic, because Labradors are known as scavengers and our girl is no exception.
“She said, ‘Sorry I keep asking, it’s just I’ve treated quite a few Labradors with these symptoms when they’ve had salbutamol toxins’.”
Salbutamol, which is also known as albuterol, is sold under the brand name Ventolin and is a medication that opens up the airways in the lungs and is referred to by most people as an inhaler.
And in Claire’s home, three family members use inhalers.
Claire said: “Three of us in our home use blue inhalers which contain salbutamol so I ran around the house looking for a chewed up inhaler but I couldn’t find anything. Then I saw one in a pot we have in our hall up on a shelf – I didn’t think she could possibly have reached it.
“But when I picked out the inhaler it had a small puncture hole. Pickle must have reached up to the shelf and bitten into the canister, and because it’s pressurised it released all of its doses at once , close to 200, and she must have dropped, leaving it to fall back in the pot.
“The vet said Pickle was still unstable and deteriorating and now that we knew what had happened, it was a watch and wait situation for 24 to 48 hours.
“Pickle was given intravenous fluids and medication to steady her heart rate and potassium levels and thankfully she survived the night.
“At 7am the vets phoned to say she was doing so much better than expected and had already had breakfast.”
Pickle was allowed home later that day and has been recovering since and all of the family’s inhalers are accounted for and stashed safely from her reach.