Salmon Arm couple suspect dog died after eating poisonous plant on hike

Beloved healthy English Springer Spaniel dies suddenly while hiking Shuswap trail

Rob Marshall and his dog Cole were enjoying a Sunday hike in the Shuswap when all of a sudden the English Springer Spaniel became deathly ill.

Minutes later, Cole would collapse, go into convulsions and die.

The two had been hiking the 20-kilometre Reinecker Creek trail loop at Herald Provincial Park. The healthy, seven-year-old canine was off-leash, sticking near Marshall but checking things out along the way.

About two hours into the loop and nearing the top of the trail, Marshall said Cole began suffering bouts of diarrhea. The two took a break at a footbridge before carrying on to the east half of the trail. Marshall said he was about 50 yards from where they stopped when he realized Cole wasn’t with him. He looked back and saw the dog staring at him from where they’d just departed.

“I could tell something wasn’t right,” said Marshall. “I turned back and went towards him, and when I got near him, his head was hanging down and he had drool pouring out the sides of his mouth.”

The dog threw up and, at first, Marshall thought it might have been indigestion, “nothing serious – until he took a step towards me and he completely collapsed.”

Over the next 15 minutes, Cole would throw up a second time, then begin frothing at the mouth and twitching and convulsing, “and then everything went to a standstill.”

Marshall said he carried Cole back to a point along the trail (an old forestry road) where he could drive in and retrieve dog.

While the cause of death has not yet been determined, Rob and wife Nicole say Cole had a habit of grazing on grass, and they believe their dog died from ingesting water hemlock, a poisonous plant that grows in the Shuswap.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Read more: Pretty but potentially deadly

Read more: Toxic plant crops up in Salmon Arm

Read more: Poison lurks beneath the petals of some Shuswap plants

The morning after the hike, the Marshalls took Cole’s body to their veterinarian and asked if a necropsy could be performed. They were informed that there were only certain things that could be tested for. What they did learn was that Cole had been a healthy animal with no notable issues – no signs of trauma or heart disease or tumours.

Marshall says he didn’t know about water hemlock, let alone consider it a cause, until he brought it up with members of the Shuswap Trail Alliance, for which he is a board member.

“Two different people mentioned this water hemlock plant, that it’s very toxic,” said Rob, who began researching the plant and learned it is very common in B.C., particularly in marshy areas and along water courses, “which describes the area I was hiking in.”

The Marshall’s also found symptoms related to consuming water hemlock in line with what Cole suffered.

Though they wait for tests to come back, the Marshall’s aren’t expecting a definitive answer. But knowing what they do now, as they grieve the loss of their beloved pet and hiking buddy, they wish to get the word out about water hemlock and other poisonous plants, urging caution when out exploring the region.

“I think maybe on our local trail maps, it might not be a bad idea to identify some of these very dangerous plants that are out there, just show what they look like and be careful or be cautious out there when hiking or walking along certain areas of the trails,” offered Rob.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Water hemlock. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Rob and Nicole Marshall’s dog Cole on the Enderby Cliffs hike. (Rob Marshall photo)

Just Posted

Golf tourney benefits Greater Vernon KidSport

Inaugural KidSport tournament, with $30,000 goal to let 100 kids play sports, set for June 20

Neighbours help save Vernon garage fire from spreading

Neighbours knock down fire on side of garage enough before firefighters arrive to fully extinguish

Regional District of North Okanagan planner recognized

Rob Smailes awarded individual achievement honour from PIBC

Downtown Vernon offers suggestions on overdose prevention site

The DVA agrees with other stakeholders proposed facility should be near Vernon Jubilee Hospital

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Thunderstorm possible for South Okanagan

The rest of the region will enjoy a sunny day.

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

KFD, COSAR rescue injured Okanagan hiker

Rescue happened after 1 p.m. on Lost Lake Trail in Kelowna after woman injured her leg

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

UBC researchers want to hear from rural residents on health care

Once completed, the project will inform health care planning and policy decisions

Kamloops RCMP investigate violent home invasion

Police believe the incident was targeted

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Trail played role during fur trade era

Fur Brigade Trail in Okanagan has long history

Most Read