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More dog illness cases investigated

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REPORTS of dogs getting sick after visiting a country park in St Brelade are being investigated following the death of a family pet that ingested a banned pesticide.

However, none of the cases appear to be linked so far, according to the States Vet.

Theo Knight-Jones, who took over as the States Vet last year, walked around Les Creux and Beauport headland on Wednesday evening with the owner of Cyrena, a ten-and-a-half-year-old white Japanese spitz which died last month hours after walking in the area.

Tests returned this week show that she died as a result of poisoning by the banned pesticide phorate.

To date, inquiries in the area have found nothing suspicious, but investigations are ongoing.

Information about anyone who may have disposed of similar chemicals via the Environment Department's ongoing official amnesty scheme is being checked, as are bodies of water in the area where the chemical could have run into.

Mr Knight-Jones, who said it was 'extremely unlikely' that a commercial farmer would have used such a chemical – as there would be no logical reason for it – also said he had heard reports of other animals getting ill after visiting the area and was looking into those cases too.

'I have heard the odd report of a dog that had become sick, so I have been contacting vets that have been involved,' he said. 'Nothing has come through that is suspicious or that I can see is linked to this.'

Earlier this week, vet Jeremy Miller from All Pets Veterinary Centre, who treated Cyrena and sent samples of her stomach contents away for testing, called on dog owners to avoid walking their animals in the area for the time being.

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He said that both his practice and the laboratory that had tested the samples had never come across such a case.

In small amounts, phorate, which is a pesticide used to control 'sucking and chewing insects' and is most commonly applied as granules, can cause eye and skin irritation in dogs.

However, if ingested, the effect can be far more serious, with the substance causing vomiting, diarrhoea, hypersalivation and neurological effects such as tremors and breathing difficulties. It is also toxic to humans.

Cyrena's owner, Lallie Clarke, said she would no longer walk her surviving dog, Maiko, in the Les Creux area.

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