At least three dogs have died and several others have been poisoned and left in agony after ingesting solidified palm oil that is thought to have been washed ashore on the UK coast due to recent storms.
Maritime, environment and animal welfare organisations are now warning UK dog owners to avoid the toxic substance that is hard, white and chalky, and often emits a diesel-like smell.
The first reported casualty was three-year old Miniature Schnauzer Zanzi who died after swallowing a marble-sized lump of the oil on Marazion beach in south Cornwall. Zanzi’s owner Lucy Garrett Peel told the Daily Mail, “We immediately took her to the vet and she had an emergency operation. She died that night. Whatever it was got stuck in her stomach. It was tested and found to be extremely rancid palm oil, containing some very nasty bacteria.”
One of the latest victims was 23-month old Lurcher-Staffordshire Terrier cross Dave, who died after playing with the substance on Mothecombe beach in Devon. His owner Fiona Cook said he became violently sick hours later, and his kidneys and liver were so badly damaged that vets were unable to save him.
Palm oil is usually found in food, soaps, shampoos and biofuels, and is harmless to humans. However, in its solid form it can be fatal to dogs, inducing agonising stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhoea.Veterinary treatment should be seeked immediately if a dog has eaten the waste.