Sarah Brimner was left perplexed after rushing her dog Tilly and her parents' dog Mylo to the Florenceville Vet Clinic Wednesday afternoon, June 15.
While visiting her parents' home in Good Corner, between Lakeville and Centreville, Tilly and Mylo were outside with Brimner's father, Jeff Kay, as he did some yard work.
Around 12:30 p.m., they noticed both animals were seriously ill, displaying similar symptoms.
"They started having muscle tremors and could barely walk or stand, their eyes were rolling into the back of their head, and they were foaming from the mouth," Brimner wrote as she described the frightening scene on the Carleton County Classified Facebook site.
She said they knew they had to get the dogs to the vet as quickly as possible.
"They were both terrified when we tried to go near them to pick them up and put them in the car," said Brimner.
Once they arrived at the Florenceville Vet Clinic, the vet gave the dogs medication for the tremors and put them on an IV.
While blood work looked good, Brimner said, Mylo's urine sample showed traces of PCP (Phencyclidine).
The animals eventually recovered, and Brimner picked them up before 6 p.m. that same day.
But the cause of Tilly's and Mylo's health-care emergency remains a mystery. Whether the PCP in Mylo's urine played a role is unclear.
While the vets could not get a sample from Tilly, they assumed both animals' health issues came from the same source.
Brimner said the vets told them they recently treated four or five other dogs for similar symptoms, although they all came from different areas in the Upper Valley. She said the vet told her the owner of one dog travelled two hours to reach the clinic.
Unfortunately, the only urine sample they could get came from Mylo. Tilly had emptied her bladder before they could get a sample, and they didn't have samples from the other dogs.
Brimner said the vet couldn't say with certainty that the PCP in Mylo's urine sample wasn't a false positive, but they said the symptoms were consistent with PCP exposure.
Whether the illness was a result of PCP, a poisonous plant, or water remains unknown, Brimner said. They have no idea how and where the dogs got into it.
"It was on my parents' property. They (the dogs) always stay nearby when we are outside with them, so they were within sight of us at some point when they got into something," she said. "That's all the info we have."
She said there's nothing to confirm that the other dogs' issues were related to what happened to Tilly and Mylo, other than the similar symptoms.
A spokesperson for the Florenceville Vet Clinic said they couldn't share personal information about clients, but she did confirm Brimner's details. She also noted the most common cause of these types of symptoms is related to algae blooms toxicity.
Brimner said she had no idea where the dogs could come in contact with any type of toxin. She said they live near the NB Trail, so her father checked to see if he could find any drug or dog treat someone may have dropped.
She said the dogs rarely leave the property, and on Wednesday morning, they stayed close by her father as he worked outside.
For now, Brimner said, it remains a mystery.
She said both Mylo and Tilly were in good health before Tuesday's episode but noted Tilly had recently faced more than her share of bad luck.
"Poor Tilly has gone through a bladder infection, bee sting to the face and now this, all in the matter of the past four months," Brimner said. "She just can't catch a break."
She said she posted their experience on the Carleton County Classified website to warn people to keep an eye on their pets.
"We don't know what's going on, but I'd hate to see this happen to someone else's baby," Brimner said.
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun