INVESTIGATORS are looking at whether Palm Oil could be the reason why a number of dogs have fallen ill and died after being walked on Barry Island beaches.
Vale of Glamorgan Council has sent an environmental health and waste management team to take samples of the water and investigate the beach.
It is also liaising with local vets and Natural Resources Wales as part of its investigation. They are looking to see if any substances have washed up on shore as a result of recent heavy rain.
A spokesperson for the council said they are looking in particular for any signs of palm oil deposits, but they are yet to confirm the results of their investigation. Palm oil, in its solid form, is a waxy white substance that can be fatal to dogs if ingested.
This concern comes just days after palm oil deposits washed up on beaches in Kent and Sussex.
The oil comes from the fruit of oil palms, mainly from South East Asia and Africa and is used in food, shampoos, biofuels and soaps – it is harmless to humans but causes organ failure in dogs. It also exists in spreads like peanut butter and Nutella, which is why they are not suitable for dogs.
Veterinary surgeon, Rip Kirby, 53, said: “Palm oil is a big problem. The treatment needs to be immediate, so if your dog starts acting strangely and you think it could be related to this, you need to get it to the vets as soon as possible and make it throw up straight away.”
Vanessa Steen, a Barry resident, recently walked her three dogs at Whitmore Bay. Coco, her five-month-old Pomeranian cross, fell ill and died on Tuesday – just two days after going in the sea at Barry Island.
Vanessa walked her seven-month-old husky, Skyla, at Barry Island beach on Wednesday and Skyla became seriously ill by Friday morning. Coco’s twin, Ruby, has not been in the water in the last few days and so far remains unaffected.
“Both Coco and Skyla started walking very slowly with arched backs. Within minutes their breathing changed and they just wanted to lie down,” said Vanessa.
Vets helped to stabilise Skyla’s condition and she is slowly recovering. She is still at risk of internal bleeding if she bumps herself.
Vanessa said: “I won’t be walking on any beaches until the council has confirmed that it is safe to do so.
“If you have been on the beach in the last two days and your dog becomes ill, go straight to the vets. Don’t wait because it could cost your dog its life.”
Owners of dogs that have become unwell after visiting the Vale’s beaches, or who have any further information, are asked to contact the Council on 01446 700111 to help with the investigation.