A Victoria dog owner warns others of the risks of water intoxication after her dog died in a “very rare freak accident”.
Jessie Weninger was in the yard with her border collie Winter on a sunny day on June 11. Weninger had set up a paddling pool for the winter with a few inches of water to play in. The dog was an avid swimmer and had watered in it many times before. But this time there was something different.
In less than an hour, Winter was panting and asking to be let in. When Weninger opened the door, Winter threw up a large amount of water and began to tremble, drool, and whimper. Weninger rushed her dog to Canada Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital, while Winter went in and out of consciousness in the back seat. The vets took Winter and performed CPR, but were unable to resuscitate him.
Weninger said the vets told her that Winter had been drinking large amounts of water and had low sodium levels, signs of water intoxication. Though rare, the condition can occur when dogs play games in the water that involve picking up items or bite into a pressurized water jet like a snake, according to SPCA Ouest, a Quebec shelter. Consuming too much water too quickly can lead to low sodium levels, which can cause cells to fill with water and swell. When that happens in the brain, it can be deadly, especially for smaller dogs.
In the aftermath, Weninger took to social media to warn other dog owners about the risks.
“Winter loved the water. I would take him to the lake and he would swim all day. So that’s why this particular incident was so inappropriate in a way, because Winter was just such an experienced swimmer, he loved the water.”
Signs and symptoms of water intoxication include loss of coordination, lethargy, bloating, vomiting, glassy eyes, excessive salivation, difficulty breathing, seizures and falling into a coma, according to SPCA Ouest. If a dog shows any signs of those symptoms, they recommend calling a vet immediately.
A good way to prevent water intoxication is to allow dogs to take breaks between playing in the water.
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