By Karen A. Soukiasian
Each year, thousands of pets die of canine carcinomas and/or liver and kidney failure. It is usually chalked up to “cause unknown.”
Certain breeds such as the Scottie are predisposed to bladder cancer or transitional cell carcinoma (TCC), but how many other dogs and cats are exposed to lawns treated chemically by professional lawn care companies, or even worse, amateur lawn care specialists like the homeowner.
How many pet owners do you know who have lost a dog or cat diagnosed with bladder cancer, liver or kidney failure for no “known” reason?
In some neighborhoods, lawn care is pretty much a religion. Neighbors compete for the greenest, most weed and bug-free, photo-perfect lawn on the street. In some neighborhoods, it’s almost a blood sport.
Many elite communities even have it spelled out in their by-laws that your lawn must meet their specifications, or else you will be fined. Scary, isn’t it?
So, one day you are out admiring your flawless lawn, and you happen to notice a few small brown patches. Panic sets in. You start to sweat. You run to your phone, your hands shaking as you call a local lawn care business. It’s an emergency! They need to get there immediately, if not sooner!
Perhaps you are one of those do-it-yourselfers, so instead, you run down to your local garden supply house, and you stock up on all kinds of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, and fertilizers. This is war! If a 1-6 ratio is good, a 3-6 ratio will be even more effective!
Treating your lawn
Subsequently, the lawn care “technician” comes rushing over with his huge truck full of “pet and children” friendly chemicals. They start hosing down the yard. You can breathe again.
Before he leaves, he sticks cute little warning flags or signs stating no children or pets should be allowed on the lawn until it dries. Great! And how many dogs and cats do you know that can read?
Wait a minute! Didn’t their ad say it was “pet and children” friendly? In all their commercials, don’t they have pictures of kids and pets romping on a golf course class lawn? Why would they need those signs?
Or you are out there spraying and/or broadcasting poisons on your lawn, but you don’t have the cute little signs to warn dogs and cats to stay off until it dries. It’s OK. It should be dry enough before the dog, kids, or grandkids go out to play on it.
Danger warning signs
An hour or so later, you notice little Fido or Fluffy is starting to:
Foam at the mouth
Go into convulsions
Slip into unconsciousness
The animals most likely to exhibit these symptoms are kittens, cats, puppies, and senior or infirm dogs. What is happening is, their nervous system has been attacked, and liver and kidney damage is progressing.
Take action immediately
You don’t have a minute to waste. As you rush your pet to the animal hospital, you better pray your veterinarian is knowledgeable on how to treat toxic lawn chemical poisoning; otherwise, you will be saying good-bye to your beloved pet because of “liver and/or kidney damage from an unknown cause.”
Even though they suspect or even know the cause, most veterinarians will not commit to it for fear of being dragged into a lawsuit.
Keep in mind, the most effective treatment, as a rule, can be done only by an emergency animal hospital equipped with a dialysis machine for pets. Most pets have less than 48 hours to receive successful treatment.
Granted, some pets don’t show symptoms for years. But you can bet sooner or later they will. And one other thing to think about when you are out there in awe of your lawn; in 10 or 20 years, when your kids or grandkids start exhibiting liver, bladder, and kidney damage symptoms, how fondly are your going to recall your picture-perfect lawn?
Follow Karen A. Soukiasian on Facebook