Nova Scotia woman cautions others after her 2 dogs euthanized following poisoning

Sonia German's dogs Arya, left, and Banjo had to be put down after they ingested a toxic substance. (Sonia German - image credit)
Sonia German's dogs Arya, left, and Banjo had to be put down after they ingested a toxic substance. (Sonia German - image credit)

A Nova Scotia woman wants to warn others of the danger signs after her two dogs had to be put down after they ingested a toxic substance.

Sonia German's dogs were put down due to kidney failure.

The Greenwood resident owned a five-year old Alaskan malamute and a two-year-old Shiba Inu.

On Dec. 30, her home security camera captured a theft outside the house, someone spray painting graffiti on her garage door and also slashing her car tires.

German let her dogs out into the backyard at about the same time as the vandalism was happening, though she said she didn't realize that until she checked security footage later. She believes someone could have approached the dogs and poisoned them at that time.

Nova Scotia RCMP are investigating.

Dogs unwell after incidents

German said the dogs had an upset stomach for a few days, but they weren't eating or drinking by the third day. She said the symptoms rapidly worsened after that.

"I was like, OK, something is very wrong," said German, who took the dogs to the vet.

Sonia German
Sonia German

A urine sample revealed kidney failure in both dogs.

She tried fluid therapy for days, but the kidney function remained at zero. Six days later, she had the dogs put down.

A recent necropsy report by Nova Scotia's Animal Health Laboratory stated the dogs ingested ethylene glycol and "the most common source of this chemical is antifreeze."

German said there was no antifreeze inside the house and the dogs didn't leave the yard that day.

Sonia German
Sonia German

She said if she knew the warning signs of dog poisoning — nausea, extreme lethargy and not eating or drinking — she would have taken her dogs to the vet sooner.

According to the website for the Pet Poison Helpline, to be effective, treatment for ethylene glycol poisoning must be administered within eight to 12 hours of ingestion.

"Delayed treatment often is not effective, and once a dog or cat has developed kidney failure, the prognosis is poor," according to the organization.

"If your dog is vomiting more than a couple of times in a day, you should definitely go get them checked out right away," German said.

Scott Saunders, previously an SPCA officer and now a part of a group that advocates for animals, says he has heard of cats ingesting antifreeze. But he said he is not aware of dogs ingesting antifreeze, and two dogs at that.

"It's horrendous," Saunders said. "It's unimaginable, to be honest."

His group, People for Dogs, is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the matter.

Dogs her best friends

German says her two dogs were her best friends.

"Banjo was the most gentle, caring dog, she said. "Everyone loved him, and I almost put him through to be a therapy dog because he was just so sweet. But he was actually just too kind to be a therapy dog," said

"And Arya — my Shiba — she was just so funny.… When something was wrong, I wasn't feeling well, or if I went through a breakup, she'd be the first to cuddle me."

German said she got another dog, but nothing will ever replace Banjo and Arya.