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Palm oil on north coast beaches poisons a dog a day

By WBEsme  |  Posted: February 14, 2014

Generic dog on beach
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A Perranporth vet is warning owners to be “vigilant” after seeing a spate of daily dog poisonings.

Two weeks ago, Chris Gardner from St Clements veterinary practice in Perranzabuloe was treating at least one dog a day for palm oil poisoning.

Mr Gardner said: "We were seeing dogs on a daily basis. Then it went quiet in the storms, perhaps because there weren't so many people on the beaches or because more owners were aware of the problem, but then we had a dog brought in on Wednesday from Porthtowan.

“It’s clearly still a risk on the North Coast and people need to be vigilant.

“As we don’t know the source of the palm oil, this is a problem which could go on for many more months.”

Palm oil first appeared on beaches in Praa Sands, Long Rock, Penzance and Porthcurno last October and is now washing up on north cost beaches including Perranporth, Porthtowan and Gwithian.

The substance, which smells strongly of paraffin and has a white, waxy appearance, is thought to have caused the death of at least one dog and the sickness of dozens more.

While not toxic to humans, the oil causes stomach problems for dogs once ingested.

Dogs suspected of eating palm oil should be taken to their nearest vet where they can be treated by induced vomiting and liquid charcoal to absorb the substance.

Thankfully none all the dogs Mr Gardner has treated have made full recoveries.

The vet added: “They have good chance of recovery if seen quickly but chances are certainly not improved the longer you wait.”

Palm oil has a wide variety of uses and is commonly found in food, soaps and shampoos, and biofuels.

The substance has been analysed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, but the source of the outbreak has yet to be identified.

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