The owner of a dog that died after an alleged poisoning at a Saskatoon dog park says she’s waiting for tests to confirm what happened.
Renae Goudal said she took Norman, a five-year-old Basset Hound, to the Avalon dog park on Monday.
She said Norman had gotten out of her yard earlier that day and had been returned by a neighbour. Goudal said he was behaving normally when she took him and her other dog for a few laps around the park.
Norman started acting strangely shortly after they got in the car to go home.
“As I slammed the door, I looked and he was looking out the window and kind of shaking,” she said.
“As I slammed the door, I looked and he was looking out the window and kind of shaking.” – Renae Goudal
Things only got worse after they got home.
“He was shaking and shivering and arching his back. I kind of just thought he was choking right away,” she said.
From there, Goudal said she took Norman to a nearby animal hospital. She said a vet took X-rays and could find no evidence of choking. Goudal said they gave Norman an anesthetic in the hopes that the seizures would pass when he came to.
“We woke him up and sadly he was seizing just as bad or worse. So we had to make the decision…and we got him put to sleep,” she said.
Vets pumped Norman’s stomach as they were trying to find what might have been wrong with him. Goudal said she found it strange that nothing but a bit of water came up at the time.
She said that after she got home, she found dog vomit in her yard that included several large chunks of chicken. Believing it to have come from Norman, she said she took a sample to the vet, who has since sent it to a lab for tests.
“(The vet) said usually poison, if you take a lot of it, it can happen within minutes, five minutes kind of thing,” she said.
Dr. Theresa Chu with All About Cats and Dogs Veterinary Hospital sent Goudal the results of the test and determined that Norman did not die of Strychnine poisoning.
Chu still believes Norman was poisoned.
“What people need to understand…is that this may not be a deliberate, malicious act,” Chu said, adding there are natural poisons or people may be using poisons for other valid reasons.
There is no confirmation that the alleged poison came from inside the Avalon off-leash park.
Goudal’s story has made the rounds of groups of dog park users, they’ve been passing around warnings and even put up a sign at the dog park.
Dr. Karen Sheehan, a veterinarian with the Westen College of Veterinary Medicine said she hasn’t come across many cases where a dog has been deliberately poisoned. She said the last time she ever heard of one was over a decade ago, when she was still an intern.
Colleagues told her there was a proven case of strychnine-laced meat found at a downtown Saskatoon dog park. Other than that, she said all she’s ever seen is the occasional client who’s come in to the emergency clinic thinking their dog has been poisoned — but none of those cases have ever been proven.
“Certainly, the majority of poisonings that I’ve seen have been accidental, where a dog has gotten into something unbeknownst to the owner,” she said.
Sheehan advised that anyone who thinks their dog might have been poisoned to get in touch with a vet as quickly as possible. While in some cases, a vet would recommend inducing vomiting, Sheehan said that doesn’t hold true across the board and warned that in cases of other toxins, that could be a dangerous course of action.
She said that if people find meat they think might be laced with something, they should take it to police.