More paraquat dog poisonings reported

A ban on importing deadly weed-killer paraquat does not appear to have prevented a spate of dog poisonings in the run-up to Christmas.

Vets and animal welfare agencies have reported at least four incidents in the past month where dogs have died showing symptoms associated with paraquat poisoning.

The latest incident was Tuesday when the Humane Society was called to reports of a seriously injured dog in Windsor Park, George Town. Jason Jairam, manager of the Humane Society shelter, said the dog had to be put down.

Island Veterinary Services has also seen three cases of paraquat poisoning in the past two weeks, including two dogs that had to be put down at the surgery. All three of those incidents happened in West Bay.

Imports of paraquat were banned amid an outcry from animal welfare groups about the frequency of dog poisonings in the Cayman Islands. In many cases, food laced with the weed-killer was left by the sides of roads and ingested by the dogs. Incidents appear to spike around the holiday season and have been linked to neighborhood feuds over nuisance behavior involving dogs.

Paraquat poisoning causes serious damage to the respiratory system, causing a slow and painful death similar to drowning. It is normal for vets to euthanize dogs that have been poisoned. Jennie Boyers, a veterinary nurse at Island Veterinary Services, who was one of the leaders of the campaign to ban paraquat, said it was disturbing to see dogs were still being poisoned.

Though imports on the weed-killer have been banned, she said many people may still have supplies.

“We do know there is still some out there, so we may still see these cases for a while until it runs out. Then, hopefully, we will never see this again,” she added.

Mr. Jairam said the continuation of the trend was disturbing. He said there always seemed to be a spike in incidents around the holidays, often in the same neighborhoods.


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