Red Tide and Dogs From Padre Island National Seashore 9/17/2015

By Tyler Thorsen

redtide Pet owners are strongly cautioned against bringing their pet(s) onto the beach during a red tide event. Here at Padre Island National Seashore we strive to let the public know that this is a dog friendly park. However there are some times when it is not good for your pet to be on the beach. A red tide event, like the one we are experiencing right now, is not a good time for your dog to be near the shore. Below you will find some important information concerning red tide (which creates Brevetoxin) and the well being of your pet: • Brevetoxin poisoning may occur from eating or licking dead/decaying fish or other items on the beach, or by exposure to water, foam, or sand/sediment. • Clinical signs of toxin exposure can occur after very limited time on the beach (20 minutes in one case). Please keep your dog on a leash at all times. • Do not let your dog dig into the sand or pick up/lick any item from the beach, including sticks, shells, carcasses, or trash. • Do not allow your dog to drink from the surf or from pools of water on the beach. • A basket muzzle may keep your dog from picking up items from the beach, however most basket muzzles are designed to allow a dog to drink or lick, which could lead to exposure. Other muzzle types are not recommended. • If you suspect that your dog has picked up or licked any item on the beach, rinse its mouth with copious amounts of fresh water. • If you believe that your dog has swallowed or licked an item, rinse its mouth as above, keep it off the beach, and watch closely for the following signs (which usually start within 12-24 hours, sometime much sooner): -Excessive drooling -Vomiting -Lethargy or reluctance to move -Decreased appetite -Weakness in any limb or an inability to hold the head up normally -Head or body tremors, seizures, or other abnormal neurological -signs -Respiratory difficulty -Any other behaviors or physical signs that you feel are abnormal for your dog • If any of those signs appear, or if you are at all concerned, please contact a veterinarian immediately. Keep in mind that dogs showing the above signs may be ill from causes other than Brevetoxin exposure, and some of those causes can be equally serious. • There is no specific “antidote” for Brevetoxin poisoning, and there is no rapid test to detect the toxin, so veterinary care is generally supportive and may include: -Induction of vomiting (if appropriate; if certain sharp items are ingested, vomiting is NOT recommended) -Administration of a gastrointestinal toxin-binding agent -Hospitalization with intravenous fluid therapy -Intravenous or oral gastrointestinal protection medication -Anti-seizure medication and/or sedation -Testing for other causes of illness Each case is unique, and only a veterinarian can determine the appropriate course of testing and treatment for each patient. Veterinary therapy does not guarantee a successful outcome, however in most cases it greatly increases the chances of survival.


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