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article imageBerlin dogs overdosing on drug users' excrement in parks

By Anne Sewell     Oct 22, 2013 in World
Berlin - Vets in Germany's capital are warning about an increase in the number of dogs becoming ill and unable to walk properly, after eating the feces of human drug users in Berlin's parks.
Apparently groups of drug users tend to gather in parks in the Treptow and Kreuzberg areas of Berlin and some of them use the bushes as a public toilet.
According to Germany's Tagesspiegel newspaper (in German) on Monday, this is proving to be dangerous for dogs.
The newspaper quoted veterinarians in the city who said that they had see a rise in the number of dogs brought to their clinics that had eaten human waste. On running tests on the dogs it was revealed that they had been poisoned by illegal drugs, including heroin, that were still present in the human feces.
According to Vet Reinhold Sassnau, symptoms include dehydration, a rapid heartbeat, shaking and an inability to walk property. Sassnau told the newspaper that he sees many of these cases during his night shifts.
Dog owners are being advised to take their dogs to the vet immediately on noticing the signs. If the dog gets to a vet in time, it can be given an emetic, forcing it to vomit up the feces. In the case of a delay, treatment can require the dog to stay in the clinic for some time to stabilize.
Sassau did say that fortunately, fatal cases are rare.
The newspaper quoted a student, who gave his name as Malte, who said he had to take his 10-year-old dog, Bob, to an emergency vet after walking him through Görlitzer Park, an area well-known for drug-dealing.
“We thought he was going to die,” Malte said.
An article on Stuffnet (German language) reports more on the situation with Bob, quoting the dog's owner, Malte:
"Bob stumbled, his legs folded away from him, his head twitched uncontrollably like a nervous disorder. The drug was too strong. Bob, ten years old, fell to the ground."
A vet at the Charlottenburg clinic, Jörn Bischof, treated Bob earlier in October, and said that the cause was "toxicological stool in the intestine, probably junkie feces."
"The diagnosis was based on the symptoms: circulatory problems, poisoning, heart racing," said the vet. "It was too late to give him an emetic, so the dog was given an IV. Bob is stabilized, but he is not alone."
“This is becoming more frequent,” he added.
Bischof did stress, however, that while dogs are often tempted to eat waste they find outdoors, owners should endeavor to train them not to.
Malte now takes much more care when taking his dog to the park and says that, "In Görli it is unbelievable what is lying around - remains, bones, waste. You have to really watch out."
More about Germany, Berlin, Drug users, Heroin, Dogs
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