United Kingdom

Dog owner warns of toxic plant Giant Hogweed danger after pet suffers anaphylactic shock

A devastated dog owner has issued a warning to pet owners to the dangers of a toxic plant after her Spaniel's suffered an anaphylactic shock from Giant Hogweed.

Hector the Cocker Spaniel was foraging in long grass when it is believed he came into contact with the plant while on a walk on Monday afternoon.

The adorable pooch fell unwell and his face began to swell to twice its normal size just moments after he had touched the leaves of the hogweed plant in a field in Port Seton, East Lothian.

The two-year-old Working Cocker went into anaphylactic shock and was rushed to a nearby vets where he spent around five hours receiving treatment.

Hector the Cocker Spaniel was foraging in long grass when it is believed he came into contact with the plant while on a walk on Monday afternoon, leading his face to swell to twice the size before the pet suffered an anaphylactic shock

Owner Emma Ferrier of East Lothian is now warning other pet owners of the danger of the toxic plant

She said: 'I just hope other dog owners, not just in this area, are vigilant against their pets coming into contact with that plant as it could prove fatal if not treated right away'. Pictured: Hector's face

What is Giant Hogweed?

Giant Hogweed is a non-native species to the UK.

It was first introduced to the UK as an ornamental plant in the 19th century after being discovered in the Caucasus Mountains and Central Asia.

The plant escaped and naturalised in the wild and can now be found throughout much of the UK - especially on river banks as its seeds are transported by the water. 

It has been spreading uncontrollably across Scotland for decades, producing up to 50,000 seeds which can survive for many years. 

But the sap of the weed, which looks like a giant version of the harmless plant cow parsley, is extremely toxic to humans and animals, causing horrific burns on the skin.

The skin remains sensitive to UV light for many years - and can even cause blindness if near the eyes.

Every year, thousands of people, including children and pets, suffer life-changing injuries from Giant Hogweed after accidentally coming into contact with it out in the wild.

Owner Emma Ferrier, from Prestonpans, East Lothian, is now warning dog owners of the dangers of the toxic plant and the effect it can have on their inquisitive mutts.

Emma, 24, said: 'Hector was on a walk on a long lead with my step-dad just near to Seton Sands Holiday Park in Port Seton when, as usual, he ran headfirst into the long grass in a field.

'He has been in there on countless occasions but this time it was very different. As soon as he came out he just didn't look right and he was pawing furiously at his face.

'After a few minutes his face was almost twice its normal size and he went into anaphylactic shock and spent all afternoon in the vets on an IV drip.

'My stepdad was panicking a bit but fortunately he rushed Hector to a vet in nearby Tranent where they said he has definitely come into contact with something toxic.

'It is hard to pinpoint the actual cause but I've been up to the field to have a look and there is a lot Giant Hogweed in there.

'I hadn't noticed it before and I believe the recent hot weather has really brought it on.

'Fortunately we got Hector to the vets in time and he is now recovering from his ordeal at home with antihistamine medication.

'I just hope other dog owners, not just in this area, are vigilant against their pets coming into contact with that plant as it could prove fatal if not treated right away.'

Giant Hogweed can grow up to five feet tall and cause severe burns and blistering that can last several months.

The toxic plant is a non-native species to the UK and has been spreading uncontrollably across Scotland for decades, producing up to 50,000 seeds which can survive for many years.

But the sap of the weed, which looks like a giant version of the harmless plant cow parsley, is extremely toxic to humans and animals, causing horrific burns on the skin.

The skin remains sensitive to UV light for many years - and can even cause blindness if near the eyes.

Every year, thousands of people, including children and pets, suffer life-changing injuries from Giant Hogweed after accidentally coming into contact with it out in the wild.

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