Family heartbreak as pet dog dies after suspected anti-freeze poisoning
A family has been left heartbroken after their beloved pet dog died after suspected anti-freeze poisoning.
Freya, a five-year-old black Labrador, started being unwell early last week and rapidly deteriorated.
Her owner, Chloe Ward, who lives on Holmfield Close, Nevison, said: "She was a bit off it, but she would eat anything and everything, so we thought whatever it was would pass through, but then she stopped eating and even drinking so we took her to the vets on the Monday.
"They checked her over and said she would be fine."
But the next day, Freya was still unwell and Chloe called the vets again - but they were unable to see her.
"We contacted other vets in the area, but they said they were unable to see her straight away. We even just drove to one, but they said they weren't able to see her either. We were begging someone to see her."
The following day, Chloe, 23, said they called a practice in Huddersfield, who told them to get Freya to them as soon as possible to be seen by their emergency vet.
"By this time, Freya was unable to walk," Chloe said. "She had lost weight and wasn't breathing right. My dad, Andy, had to carry her to the car.
"He rushed her there and they did an ultra sound and blood tests.
"They said Freya was very poorly and her kidneys and liver were packing in. They said they suspected she had been poisoned by something toxic, like anti-freeze."
The surgery wanted to keep Freya overnight for further tests and treatment. But then Andy got a devastating phone call.
"Just 10 minutes after leaving, they called by dad and said Freya had had a seizure and passed away.
"We're completely devastated."
Chloe is now wanting to warn other dog owners in the area to check their gardens and try to watch what their pets are picking up.
"Freya had only been going in the garden for a while, not out for long walks, so the only way she could have picked something like this up is if someone had thrown something over the fence or fed it to her.
"We have a six-foot fence, it's a secure garden."
Chloe said the loss of Freya has hit all the family hard.
"We also have a three-year-old golden labrador, Willow, who is just pining for Freya. She's lost without her.
"My 18-month-old daughter, Heidi, had only just learnt to say Freya's name too, it's so upsetting. I can't stop crying."
Chloe said they are now being extra cautious when letting Willow outside and is urging other dog owners to do the same.
"Willow loves being outside, but we're not letting her roam about for too long and we're keeping an eye on her. So please, keep an eye on what your pets are eating and if you think something isn't right with your dog, don't wait.
"Rush them to the vets and get seen as soon as you can. Ask for information and ask for tests.
"Freya suffered for three days before being examined properly.
"We're just so upset that someone could do something like this. Whether they've thrown something over the fence...we just don't know.
"We asked if something we've used in the house could have caused it, such as cleaning products, but we were told that although they would make an animal poorly, they wouldn't cause that much damage. And we don't have any kind of anti-freeze products in or around the house.
"Freya was such a lovely, friendly dog and just loved people. We're missing her so much."
And even though there's nothing anyone could have done to save Freya, Chloe has nothing but praise for Donaldson's Vets in Huddersfield, who cared for the family dog in her final moments.
"They couldn't have done more to try and help Freya," she said. "They were brilliant, so lovely and caring. Really amazing."
Martin Paterson, director of Donaldson's Vets Ltd, said sadly, anti-freeze poisoning is quite a common thing.
He said: "We don't know for absolute sure what caused Freya's illness, but our suspicions are that she was showing signs that would fit with anti-freeze toxicity.
"It's sweet tasting, so for cats, who are outside more unsupervised, it's something they are attracted to because it's tasty. But dogs are less likely to be unsupervised, apart from when they are let off of the lead while out for walks.
"It causes toxins in the kidneys, which causes vomiting diarrhea and leads to collapse.
"Freya was so ill when she came to us, she really was in the final stages and unfortunately passed away quite quickly.
"As the owner of labradors myself, I would be devastated if this happened to one of mine.
"We really want to raise awareness of engine coolant. We need to prevent exposure."
Mr Paterson said he also wanted to take the opportunity to remind pet owners about keeping vaccinations up to date.
He said: "Unfortunately, during lockdown, providing treatment has seen a decline in the number of pets who aren't up to date with their vaccines.
"If the annual vaccination, goes to 13 months, your pet will no have immunity to such things as leptospirisis, which can also cause the same kind of damage as toxins. It can also be passed on to people, so please make sure your pets are up-to-date with their vaccinations."