Forest warnings to be more prominent after 13th confirmed dog toxin death

NEW Forest bosses are reviewing how they warn people about a disease that is killing dogs after yet another is believed to have succumbed to the toxin.

Sarah Thairs said she would have never have let three-and-a-half-year-old Tegan walk in a beauty spot had she known her beloved pet risked dying.

The Patterdale fox terrier cross is feared to be the latest victim of a toxin which has killed 12 dogs in the New Forest since December 2012 and ten elsewhere in the country. A further ten deaths are suspected to have also been caused by the toxin in the New Forest.

Two months ago the Forestry Commission installed signs in some of the areas where victims had been exercised before being taken ill. The signs describe the symptoms and urge pet owners to consult a vet immediately if their dog develops signs of the disease.

But Ms Thairs, from North Baddesley, says she saw no warning signs.

After being contacted, the Forestry Commission said it was now reviewing how it communicates the problem of the disease to dog walkers.

Ms Thairs, who runs a pet grooming business, said that she first noticed something was wrong when Tegan developed a knee joint problem.

Days later lesions appeared on the same leg and soon after the stricken animal began passing blood and became lethargic. With Tegan’s condition worsening, Ms Thairs had to make the decision to have her put to sleep.

She said: “What breaks my heart was that she was so young, she was in her prime.”

Sarah believes Tegan picked up the toxin while walking in Deerleap, but she said she saw no signs warning of the risk.

The Forestry Commission said it had listened to concerns of affected pet owners.

A spokesman said: “We will talk urgently with vet specialists, local authorities, the New Forest National Park Authority and other partners to have a co-ordinated and consistent approach across everyone’s visitor sites in the New Forest area. The problem is not restricted to the Forest and so we will make this approach more widely known for others outside of the New Forest to help spread awareness of the issue.”

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1:24pm Mon 17 Mar 14

Frogham Ferret says...

What toxin leches out of managed woodlands after heavy rain? That seems to be a common factor in these tragic cases
What toxin leches out of managed woodlands after heavy rain? That seems to be a common factor in these tragic cases Frogham Ferret
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