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Compound 1080 confirmed in dog deaths in Gold Creek area

Pathologist believes the poisoning was secondary
Compound 1080 has been confirmed as the substance that lead to the death of two dogs in the Gold Creek area (pictured).

Steeples Veterinary Clinic in Cranbrook has provided the public with an update on suspected dog poisonings that recently took place in the Gold Creek area.

At the end of May, the vet clinic and RCMP were cautioning the public about several suspected poisonings in the area of the Gold Creek trails and Hidden Valley Road.

Results from a toxicology test have now come back to the vet, determining that a substance called Compound 1080 was in fact found in a dog that passed away.

READ MORE: Cranbrook vet, RCMP cautioning public about suspected dog poisonings

READ MORE: Reports of two dogs dead, a third extremely ill after walking in Wycliffe Butte

Steeples Vet Clinic said in a Facebook post that Compound 1080 is the same toxin that was found in the Cranbrook Community Forest cases in 2017.

“Now, the biggest difference here is that the concentration of the toxin was very different, leading the pathologist to believe that this time it was a secondary poisoning,” said Steeples Vet in the post. “This would mean that there was a victim of the poison (likely a wild animal) that passed away and then a second animal (dog) found the remains and ingested some.”

Compound 1080 is an animal toxicant typically used to control wolves and coyotes in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan only.

“There is no way of knowing for sure if this was purchased with the intent to bait dogs or to control predators, but regardless of why it has been purchased, we know that it is being used in this area illegally and obviously has a devastating impact on our pets,” said Steeples.

The post from the local vet also explains that in the Community Forest in 2017, it was confirmed that Compound 1080 was the cause of death for those dogs at the time.

“This year, there were some mixed results which still leaves some questions we cannot answer. We know ethylene glycol (antifreeze) was the cause of two, and Compound 1080 secondary poisoning was the cause of two more,” said Steeples. “The case in Lois Creek trails in Kimberley is still a mystery. This patient did not come back positive for any Compound 1080, ethylene glycol, or have any other clues from the necropsy. So, we cannot prove or disprove it was a poisoning as the pathologist and toxicologist could not provide us with any more answers.”

According to the Animal Alliance of Canada (AAOC), Compound 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate) is toxic to all warm-blooded animals (and humans). The alliance says that poisoning is characterized by a symptom-free period of 0.5 to 2 hours or longer between ingestion and onset of symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hyperactive behaviour leading to convulsions).

“Compound 1080 is hazardous to domestic animals including livestock and pets,” reads an article from the AAOC. “Dogs are particularly susceptible. In field studies, dogs have died after they attacked collared livestock and punctured the collars. As little as 0.1 ml of a LP collar’s contents may be fatal to a 25 pound dog. Dogs could be poisoned by scavenging the carcasses of collared livestock.”

Steeples says that residents should continue to exercise caution when out walking their pets, and to report anything suspicious to the RCMP.

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Corey Bullock

About the Author: Corey Bullock

Corey Bullock is a multimedia journalist and writer who grew up in Burlington, Ontario.
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