There was a lot of fuss in the media this February after a shocking case in Great Britain where a puppy passed away after chewing on an e-liquid bottle. Coach driver Keith Sutton, 56, of Redruth, Cornwall, bought himself an electronic cigarette in his effort to cut down on his nasty smoking habit. Mr. Sutton used an eKarma Vaporizer fuelled by k-Liquid and is one of the estimated four million people in Britain to make the switch to the e-cigarette.
For those of you who don’t know, electronic cigarettes are battery powered devices, that are used to vaporize a nicotine based e-liquid by the help of an atomizer and inhale the resulting vapor. It’s a much healthier way of getting your nicotine fix than regular cigarettes because there is no tar, no ass and no carcinogens. These devices are either fueled by replaceable cartomizers or by refilling the tank with fresh e-liquid. The e-liquid is a variable mixture of Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, liquid nicotine, and food grade flavorings.
Unfortunately, Staffordshire bull terrier ‘Ivy’ – Mr. Sutton’s pet – died within hours of chewing on a bottle of the nicotine-laced liquid used to fuel the smoke-free vaporizer left by the owner on the dining room table.
“I attempted to cool her down with cold water but I don’t know any dog first aid, I just did whatever came into my mind. Her tongue was blue, her lips were blue. She messed herself, then she vomited. My partner was on the phone to the vet who said to get her here as quickly as possible.
He gave her an injection of steroids, then put her on a drip and promised to phone us every couple of hours through the night.
They said the first 12 hours were critical and we received a call after 12 and a half hours saying she had passed away. Her lungs and heart had given up.” Said Keith Sutton, who is now angry that e-liquid isn’t a controlled substance like alcohol and doesn’t come with warnings and stronger packaging to protect animals and small children who he fears, could also be harmed if they ingest the fuel.
It is very sad what happened to 14 week old Ivy, but before jumping the conclusions and shifting the blame let’s get the facts straight. The dog died from nicotine poisoning, not from any other ‘chemical’ inside the e-liquid bottle. Even though nicotine is harmless to humans in those quantities, you only need 10 milligrams per animal kilogram to pose a life threat. The same goes for the bottles of bleach in your house, alcohol or any other potentially harmful house-hold item.
It is clearly the owner’s fault for leaving the plastic bottle of e-liquid in the dog’s reach. If it had been a controlled substance with big warnings on it, could the little pup read the label? Of course not! Pets or children don’t go out and buy e-liquid or any other potentially fatal substances given their body weight, instead grownups do. A responsible person would keep its e-cigarette and e-liquid in places that are not accessible by curious pets or children.
So don’t let yourself get fooled by the media and think e-cigarettes are deadly because this is not the case. Ignorance on the other hand, can be deadly.