San Pedro’s Animal Hospital – Update on Poisoning

Rest In Peace, HavanaPosted: 04 Dec 2011 12:13 PM PST

Our deepest sympathies to Jeff and Vivian and the crew at Rojo Lounge.  There dog Havana passed away this morning in San Pedro Animal Hospital after a 72 hour battle against the toxin she was poisoned with.

Havana was a rescue puppy adopted from Saga Humane Society six years ago.  She spent her life as a beloved member of her family at Azul Resort, guarding her home outside every night.

She presented at San Pedro Animal Hospital on Wednesday with the signs of a mild to moderate neurotoxicity.  She was shaking uncontrollably and unsteady on her feet.  She was treated for two days in the hospital on IV fluids and medications, and showing improvement, she went home on Friday.  Unfortunately, on Sat am she returned with more severe symptoms.  As it turns out, the insecticide we suspect she was poisoned with causes degeneration of nerves in the brain and the rest of the body over time, causing progressive neurologic dysfunction.  In her case, her seizures became so severe that she developed a condition we refer to as “status”.   In this condition the patient never wakes up between seizures.  We treated her seizures all night last night, hoping that she would finally improve and awaken.  Unfortunately, this never happened and her condition continued to deteriorate.  This morning at 6am we had to concede that we had lost the battle against the neurotoxin, and Havana was put to rest.

I learned a lot from my treatment of Havana.  This was a new set of progressive symptoms in a poisoning victim, and it took time to work it out, but with research it appears that there are many possible insecticides that could have been used.  They are in the class of “cholinesterase inhibitors”.  This probably doesn’t mean much to the average person, but to veterinarians and doctors it explains a lot.  There is a special antidote to these type of toxins, which I have never seen or used before in the United States or Belize, but I remember learning about it way back in Toxicology class in veterinary school.  It is my hope that I will be able to acquire it on my next trip to America, and that San Pedro Animal Hospital will be prepared with it for the next incident of canine poisoning here in Belize.

Sometimes I feel that I am in a personal war against these nameless, faceless criminals, who periodically attack the canine members of our families with these poisonous substances.  This time the perpetrator won.  But next time I will be ready again for another fight, and the outcome may be different.  More often than not I have been able to save the victims that arrive at my clinic, but it is the ones that we do not save that stay with me.

This is the fourth dog the Azul Resort has lost this year, joining Siska and Carey who died of old age, and Gabby who died of kidney failure.  I hear that there will be a funeral today for Havana on their beautiful beach front property.  Words will be said.  Flowers and sand will go with Havana into her grave in the beautiful pet cemetary they are building.

A special thank you to Dr. Dan, a local family physician, who assisted us last night by supplying us with additional emergency medications.

Rest in peace, Havana.

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