- Staffordshire Bull Terrier Ivy died within hours of chewing on a bottle of nicotine-laced liquid used to fuel e-cigarette
- Dog started frothing at the mouth and vomiting after consuming liquid
A dog has become the first pet in Britain to be killed by an electronic cigarette.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Ivy died within hours of chewing on a bottle of nicotine-laced liquid used to fuel the smoke-free vaporiser.
Her owner Keith Sutton, 56, bought the device in a bid to cut down on his tobacco habit.
The battery-powered aid works by heating up the ‘e-liquid’ into a gas which the user inhales like real cigarette smoke.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier Ivy died after chewing on a bottle of nicotine-laced liquid used in an e-cigarette
Coach driver Mr Sutton, of Redruth, Cornwall, had left a bottle of the liquid on his dining room table when 14-week-old Ivy bit into it.
She immediately started frothing at the mouth and vomiting and Keith rushed her to the vets, where she was given huge doses of steroids, but died from nicotine poisoning early the next day.
There are currently warnings on the bottles but grandfather Keith wants to see e-liquid become a controlled substance before it kills another animal.
He said: ‘I peered round the corner from the kitchen and the dog was on the floor with the bottle of e-liquid.
‘She had chewed it and pierced the plastic container. She had only ingested the tiniest amount but by the time I picked her up she was frothing at the mouth.
Keith Sutton with an E-cigarette similar to the one which killed his pet dog
Keith Sutton says Staffordshire bull terrier Ivy died of nicotine poisoning hours after chewing on the E-cigarette
NICOTINE: THE DEADLY DANGER
Nicotine is a highly poisonous substance that can kill both humans and animals.
In the Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot investigates when one character, Sir Bartholomew Strange, was poisoned with nicotine, a colorless, odorless liquid lethal at just a few drops.
Toxicology experts warned that drinking the equivalent of just two bottles of e-liquid could deliver enough nicotine to kill a human.
There were nine UK deaths from nicotine poisoning in the three decades leading up to the 1970s, when nicotine was available in liquid form in insecticides.
The lowest fatal dose was between 50 and 60 milligrams – equivalent to smoking about 20 to 30 cigarettes or drinking two high strength bottles of e-liquid containing 24 milligrams of nicotine each.
Nicotine poisoning induces vomiting, muscles spasms and seizures. In fatal cases it interferes with the central nervous system and causes respiratory failure.
It is also highly poisonous to cats and dogs. Common signs to watch for include vomiting, abnormal heart rate, uncoordination, tremors, weakness and collapse.
Nicotine is a rapid acting toxin and, often, pets will show signs of poisoning within 1 hour of ingestion, the Pet Poison helpline warns.
toxic dose for nicotine in pets is 1/2-1 mg per pound of pet body
weight, while the lethal dose is 4 mg per pound of pet body weight.
So a 40lb dog would get very sick after eating one cigarette – but would need 11 cigarettes to die from nicotine poisoning.
Pets ingesting small amounts of nicotine often vomit spontaneously and may self-decontaminate.
However, even when vomiting occurs, veterinary evaluation after ingestion is typically recommended so that the heart rate, blood pressure and neurological status can be monitored.
Treatments including additional decontamination, IV fluids and medications to slow the heart rate, decrease the blood pressure or stop tremors may be needed.
‘I attempted to cool her down with cold water but I don’t know any dog first aid, I just did whatever came into my mind.
tongue was blue, her lips were blue. She messed herself, then she
‘My partner was on the phone to the vet who said get her here as
quickly as possible.
‘When we got there the vet went on to the veterinary websites but couldn’t find anything about nicotine poisoning.
‘He eventually went away and got an old book on poisons. He shook his head and told us it wasn’t good.
‘He gave her an injection of steroids, then put her on a drip and promised to phone us every couple of hours through the night.
said the first 12 hours were critical and we received a call after 12
and a half hours saying she had passed away. Her lungs and heart had
Keith – who uses an eKarma Vaporiser
fuelled by k-Liquid – is one of an estimated four million people in
Britain who have turned to electronic cigarettes.
The World Health Organisation has refused to endorse the device until long-term trials prove they are safe.
e-liquid itself contains chemicals such as propylene glycol and
polyethylene glycol 400 which are mixed with vegetable glycerin and
various flavourings, plus varying amounts of nicotine.
it would take a large dose of nicotine to harm a human, experts say a
dog would only have to ingest 10 milligrams per kilogram of animal
weight to be in danger.
There have been reports of pets fatally chewing on tobacco but Ivy is believed to be Britain’s first canine victim of e-liquid.
Keith wants to see much clearer health warnings on bottles and wants them sold as controlled substances like medicines or alcohol.
Ivy, who came from an RSPCA rescue centre, was treated at Animal Veterinary Services in Hayle, Cornwall.
Vets there confirmed that Ivy’s symptoms, which included vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty in breathing and heart problems, are all typical of nicotine poisoning.
A spokesperson said: ‘The dog started to get a reaction after 30 seconds of piercing the bottle.
‘We managed to keep her going for a few hours, but she died in the early hours of Monday morning.
‘The fluid is potentially fatal for dogs and they are perfectly capable of putting a tooth through the packaging.’
Keith’s vaporizer was a Falcon electronic cigarette, produced by a different company, UK-based Prestige Vaping.
Neither company has responded to a request for comment.
Nicotine is also a highly toxic to humans. Professor Alastair Hay, professor of toxicology at Leeds University, said: “Make no mistake nicotine is a potent and highly toxic chemical that kills.
‘When you smoke cigarettes the concentration of nicotine is small and delivered over a period of time so the compound is metabolised and broken down in the body.
‘But when it was used in insecticides there were quite a few cases of humans dying as a result of drinking it, either deliberately or accidentally.
‘Certainly these bottles of e-liquid should come with clear warning labels and they should be kept well away from children.’
Sheila Merrill, public health adviser at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, added:
‘Nicotine is a toxic substance and poisonous to children.
‘This is why it is important to treat electric cigarettes and its components – including the e-liquid – in the same way as you would household chemicals, by storing them out of the sight and reach of children in a locked cupboard.
‘If you believe that your child has ingested nicotine, seek medical advice immediately.’