Monty the greedy Beagle voted August’s Pet of the Month!

16 Sep 2017 | Pet of the month

We see hundreds of cases of animal poisoning every year, some are due to the ingestion of poisonous plants or pills for example and some more surprising cases can be caused by everyday foods. Mouldy foods are particularly dangerous and if eaten can make a pet extremely ill.  Our August Pet of the Month, Monty, is a gorgeous seven year old Beagle who found this out to his cost.

Monty’s owner Matt explains “We were over at my girl friend Laura’s parents’ house on a Sunday afternoon and Monty suddenly appeared with an old yogurt pot in his mouth. They’ve a large, open garden and we had no idea where he had got it from but he wasn’t letting it go! Once we’d wrestled the pot off him we didn’t think anything else about it- he is a very greedy dog and has previously found and eaten all sorts of disgusting things! However, after a few hours Monty started displaying some worrying behaviour. He became unsteady on his feet, his back legs started to lose control, he was shaking and was looking extremely uncomfortable. It was very frightening.”

Matt immediately called Quantock Vets and rushed the distressed Beagle in.  Vet Heidi Hargreaves was at hand and quickly assessed Monty.  Heidi explained “With any strange behaviour its worth seeing a vet as even though yogurt seems quite harmless it contains a lot of ingredients including sweeteners which are toxic to dogs. Mouldy foods can be even more dangerous.”

Once Monty arrived it was clear that he was getting rapidly worse, his legs were very stiff, and his tremors were becoming more generalised over his body. Heidi realised he was about to go into a full fit and managed to get him into a dark kennel in order to remove any further stimulation and help him avoid hurting himself.

“Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites that are poisonous to both humans and animals. Termorgenic mycotoxins (ones which can cause seizures) can be found particularly on mouldy foods especially dairy foods, sometimes also fruit and nuts.  Commons clinical signs of this sort of poisoning can occur very rapidly and include vomiting, irritability, ataxia (inability to walk properly) hyperaesthesia (over reaction to stimulus), in severe cases convulsions, and coma. Worryingly, as Monty’s signs were so severe, there was a good chance that he might not survive.

Thankfully Monty is here to tell the tale, but it was very scary at the time for his owners and to be honest also us. Monty’s fits were so severe he needed medication to stabilise him. Sian one of our nurses took care of him over night but after the seizures he didn’t quite return to normal which was of huge concern, in fact it took several days for him just to be able to sit up and weeks before the old Monty was back! It was a worrying time while we waited and hoped for improvement, he was continually reassessed and improvement was very slow at first.”

Heidi punched the air in delight when Monty eventually urinated and defecated for himself in a controlled manner!  “He is so lucky to have owners who were able and willing to continue his physiotherapy care patiently at home and adjust his home environment until he finally got back to normal.” 

Heidi added “Fits can be very scary for everyone. The most important thing to do if you animal is fitting is first look at a clock and make a note of when it started (they always feel much longer then they really are), close curtains and remove anything out of the way which may harm your pet. Phone your vets so we can talk you though the steps. People often think about rushing them into the car to get to the vets, but this creates extra stimulation which may in fact continue to stimulate the fit so you are far better to keep the safe and calm, and watch for the fit to stop. Most fits do stop in less than three minutes, however if the fit does continue don’t hesitate to give us a call so we can discuss what to do safely. In some severe cases – like Monty’s – medication may be required.

Matt, Laura and the family’s fast action no doubt saved Monty. He’s an adorable dog who went through a lot – we’re absolutely delighted that he’s pulled through and has been voted our Pet of the Month! Congratulations Monty!