TWO devastated dog owners from Redruth are warning others about the dangers of nicotine poisoning after their puppy died from eating deadly e-cigarette fluid.
Keith Sutton and Kim Williams were horrified to be told their beloved Staffordshire bull terrier rescue puppy, Ivy, had passed away on Monday.
The 14-week-old, which was adopted from an RSPCA centre just two weeks before, fell ill after ingesting a small amount of e-cigarette liquid.
This is believed to be the first case of a canine death from e-cigarette fluid poisoning in the UK.
The 56-year-old coach driver said: “A warning really needs to go out that they are lethal.
“She would have had a better chance if she had bitten in to a bottle of bleach.
“If this is what a small amount on does to a dog, then what would it do to a child?”
E- cigarettes work by vaporising e-liquid, a solution of nicotine, flavouring and diluents, to simulate the feeling of smoking a tobacco cigarette.
The couple, who were not in the room at the time of the incident, believed their container of chocolate-flavoured e-cigarette fluid was knocked off their dining room table while Ivy and their other dog, Archie, were playing.
Mr Sutton said: "I peered round the corner from the kitchen and the dog was on the floor with the bottle of e-liquid.
"She had chewed it and pierced the plastic container. She had only ingested the tiniest amount but by the time I picked her up she was frothing at the mouth.
"I attempted to cool her down with cold water but I don't know any dog first aid, I just did whatever came into my mind.
"Her tongue was blue, her lips were blue. She messed herself, then she vomited. My partner was on the phone to the vet who said get her here as quickly as possible.”
Mr Sutton and Miss Williams rushed Ivy to the Animal Veterinary Services in Hayle, but staff there could not save the puppy.
A spokesman from the surgery said: “I have not seen a case like this before.
“The dog started to get a reaction after 30 seconds of piercing the bottle.
“We managed to keep her going for a few hours, but she died in the early hours of this morning.”
Ivy’s symptoms, which included vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing and heart problems, were typical of nicotine poisoning.
Now Mr Sutton and Miss Williams are asking dog owners to be aware of the potential dangers of e-cigarette e-liquid.
Miss Williams said: “It was a freak accident.
“We are not asking e-cigarette users to stop, but we are asking people to just be aware of the dangers.”
Miss Williams also gave a wider warning about dogs accessing other nicotine replacement products such as chewing gum and patches.
Mr Sutton - who used an eKarma Vaporiser fuelled by k-Liquid - is one of an estimated four million people in Britain who use the devices.
The World Health Organisation has refused to endorse the device until long-term trials prove they are safe.