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30 April 2000 Issue
Gardening Warning

I accidentally poisoned our Dane (Samantha) and want to pass on the details so others would not make the same mistake.

On Tuesday I sprinkled bone meal and Ortho "RosePride Systemic Rose & Flower Care" around the cedar mulch surrounding the roses in our rose garden. Later the area around each rose was hosed down to wash the products into the mulch.

On Wednesday, "Sam" took an afternoon stroll and caught the scent of the bone meal. Drawn to the scent she proceeded to lick the bone meal residue and also the Ortho product.

Within 30 to 60 minutes she had developed diarrhea, muscle tremors, was very unsteady on her feet, and was drooling saliva from her mouth (she does not drool normally).

I immediately called our vet who luckily got us in right away. The symptoms were worse and she was foaming severely from the mouth with continual "dry heaves". He said something must be done immediately or she would be dead within a few minutes as she was getting ready to go into seizures.

Bill made an "educated decision" (there was no time to do lab tests) based on her severe symptoms and diagnosed her as having organophosphate poisoning (to check a product look under the "Physician Warning" portion of the label).

He administered Atropine IV and IM. Then put her on an IV drip. We watched her and prayed a lot through the next two days as Bill continued the Atropine and IV's. Friday she got her appetite back and that night the IV was removed and she was allowed to come home. She is not out of the woods yet, but each day she gets a little more of her strength back (she lost 15 to 20 pounds in a couple hours). However we still don't know if she sustained any liver or kidney damage.

Once I realized what the cause of the poisoning was I returned to the rose bed and worked the bone meal and fertilizer into the mulch turning over the entire surface and washing everything down thoroughly. I suggest anyone with a dog not use bone meal in conjunction with fertilizer, but space their application so each has adequate time to dissolve before applying the other.

Also work all products into the soil when working around pets so as not to tempt them to eat something not designed for their systems. I know this may sound simplistic, but knowing the attraction dogs have to bone meal I made the mistake and almost lost a loved member of my family.

I would appreciate you broadcasting this so more pet owners are made aware of this potentially dangerous problem.

Thanks, Dave Paulsen

Source: "Jody" <jo-shadow@mediaone.net

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