Woman Issues Urgent Warning After Her Dog Suffers A Stroke
Sarah Brown, 39, had just finished applying her cocoa butter hand cream before bed a few weeks ago when her six-year-old rescue Blondie came running in for a cuddle.
As the couple laid down to sleep, shortly after they heard a lot thud and when husband Sammy, 38, ran downstairs, he found the dog having a seizure on the floor and losing bowel control.
The terrified pair rushed their Kangal Shepherd to the emergency vets as her condition rapidly deteriorated, with her skin turning a "glowing neon red" and shaking "ferociously".
Sarah spent almost £500 on tests to find out what had caused the seizure with vet's concluding it was "very likely" a reaction to her hand cream. The cocoa butter cream contains the compound theobromine, which is dangerous for dogs.
Theobromine is the same compound that's found in chocolate which is known to be fatal to the animals when consumed.
"It was terrifying and out of the blue. I felt terrible because I thought 'I've done this'," said Sarah, from Lowestoft, Suffolk.
"We could have had a different tale to tell. We thought she was a goner and not going to last through the night.
"This is me saying it's happened to me and please be careful. It's about raising awareness. If this can save it happening to others, that's brilliant.
"I'm really gutted I can't use that cream anymore because I love it. I'll stick with [the brand I used] but maybe I should use coconut oil instead.
"We've passed the £500 mark with tests and medication she's had. But lesson learned - it won't happen again."
Sarah adopted their beloved Blondie from Turkey, who had been living on the streets and came to them with both his ears cut off.
Sarah explained: "I usually put the cream on my hands before going to sleep and this particular night she decided to come up to say goodnight for five minutes.
"She jumped up on the bed. I'd had the hand cream on for five minutes and I'd fully absorbed it. I'd spent a lot of time rubbing it in and thought I'd got all the excess off.
"She didn't lick it off me at all.
"She absolutely loves having her face rubbed, around her eyes, mouth and especially her ears.
"I started giving her a bit of fuss and gently giving a massage around her face. She was loving it - she was happy.
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"She then jumped off the bed and ran downstairs. That's not unusual - she's quite an independent dog after being on the streets.
"But within 10 minutes we heard an almighty racket, as if she'd fallen or knocked something over.
"My husband went downstairs and she'd had the seizure. When he found her she'd messed herself. There was poo all over the kitchen area and she'd wet herself.
"She was having a seizure on the floor, her face was swollen, her cheeks were bright red. Her skin had gone a neon red - like really bright pink. She was glowing, almost."
As they sat with their sick dog, they called the vet who asked if she'd been exposed to any poisons.
"I rang the vet because she was very limp, unresponsive and ferociously shaking her head," Sarah recalled.
"The first thing he said to me was 'has she come into any poisons or picked anything up?' We normally walk her every day but that particular day we hadn't because my stepdaughter visited.
"She'd been in the garden so she hadn't been anywhere unusual. We ruled out poisons straight away - without thinking about the hand cream.
"We spent the night monitoring her. He said if she had another seizure within the next hour we had to take her to be seen but with COVID-19 they were trying to put us off until the following morning.
"The next day, the Friday morning, it dawned on me. I had the hand cream on the bedside table and looked at the bottle and the first thing I saw was cocoa. The penny dropped.
"I took the hand cream along with us to the vets and explained. The first thing the vet had said to me was was it poison?
"She had all the tests monitoring her brain activity, vital organs, and everything was normal. They ruled out an ongoing problem.
"Then they asked the questions about the hand cream and with the cocoa butter they said without further investigation, it was very likely that.
"I didn't give the cream a second thought [initially]. I don't know if it's just a one-off with my dog or if it's toxic by absorbing into their skin.
"All I know is she had a seizure due to an allergic reaction to that cream. She's had everything else ruled out and that's what the conclusion was."
Since the horrifying incident, Sarah says she's been checking all of her beauty products for the dangerous ingredient - and we think we'll doing the same.
"Since that happened I've been checking all my creams. I've come across a brand that's got palm oil in - we all know how dangerous that is to dogs," she said.
"A lot of people have commented saying 'oh my god, I always put lotion on my legs and my dog licks them'."
If you're unsure, the Kennel Club has created a helpful guide on the dog poisons you might find in your home, from you kitchen to cleaning and medical cupboards.
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News
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