Early the other morning, our seriously awesome dog, Jesha, ate a bait laced with 1080 poison and after an excruciating hour of pain, dropped dead.
During that hour, the whole famly piled into the truck in our pajamas and started driving frantically in the direction of the nearest vet, but by halfway to town it was all over.
I would like to write a great ‘what to do if your dog ingests 1080 and how to fix it’ but, as 1080 is a nerve toxin that is incredibly effective at killing canines, there’s not much to say. I can, however, share what the vet told us, that might be of use…
1080 (Sodium fluoroacetate) is a metabolic poison developed from plants and now produced synthetically. It’s used in our area to control foxes mostly – farmers can obtain lamb hearts that have been loaded with the stuff – they then dig the meat into the ground for foxes to find. But sometimes other animals find them too.
1080 has also been used to control rabbits, possums and a range of other animals. It’s favored because once it’s in contact with biology (ie out in the environment) it breaks down in 10 days or so, and doesn’t persist in the food chain, or affect fish.
In the meantime, before the 1080 breaks down, it causes excruciating death. In a dog, for example, the body goes into a full rigid spasm and you can hear it’s teeth cracking apart with the strain. Dogs usually die of a combination of stress to the heart caused by the spasms, and overheating as they cannot breathe properly.
If your dog does ingest 1080, getting it to vomit up the stuff is imperative. Not that that did our dog much good, but better out than in. If you can get to the vet in time, they can make the dog vomit and also anesthetize the dog, which reduces the spasms and therefore the stress on the heart.
Dogs that eat 1080 have a very, very low rate of recovery. In retrospect, if we’d known this, we’d probably have put Jesha out of her misery quick smart.
So here we now are. One less of the Milkwood crew. Nick dug her a grave on our hillside while Ashar and I collected wattle flowers and rocks for a cairn. We had a big chat about death, compost, renewal and nutrient cycling, and then we laid her to rest. I couldn’t think of anything to sing.
While I would love to wallow in wrath towards the psychology that allows folks to think that using 1080 is an acceptable part of farming, that won’t help us, or Jesha, or the farmers in question.
I don’t expect everyone in this valley to have the same approach to environmental toxins and poisons as we do, but intentionally using anything that causes an animal that much pain, for that long, is not acceptable in my book. Not for a fox, nor a rabbit, nor for anything else that might come snuffling along.
So the moral of the story is make sure you put your dog on it’s chain, each and every night, and do not ever, ever forget to do so. Even when it’s weeks and weeks since you got the call that 1080 baits were going to be used over the hill.
And if you do forget, even just the once, be prepared to deal with the fallout; find a quiet place, dig a hole, collect some rocks and some wattle, and make a cairn.
God. I’m so sorry. That’s not the way to die (not for a dog, or, as you say, a fox or a rabbit). Thanks for posting this, and for helping to ensure that there are fewer next times.
Nothing can ease your loss, but please know that people are thinking of you and are shedding a tear for you and for Jesha. x
So sorry. What a horrible thing to have happened.
Oh, my, I am so sorry. This post has brought me to tears… for the pain your dog went through, the loss & grief for your family, and I am also saddened by the use of such an awful pest control. Thank you for sharing this story…
Just awful. My favourite cat Charlie got poisoned last year and I found her too late to do anything (she’d hidden away like cats do). She’d only just weaned a set of kittens and I cried for days. We buried her under a grapefruit tree and so I’m thinking of her now that it’s laden with fruit. The vet said she couldn’t count how many poisoned dogs and cats had been brought to her (I live in Argentina), and that nine times out of ten there’s nothing she can do. Really sorry that your doggy went through such pain.
Oh guys I am so so sorry x My heart goes out to you all filled with love x Dear Jesha R.I.P xx
Ah, love, she was a great dog, and we will remember her as such!
Seems to be the season for 1080 – down here, heard yesterday another local farm dog only just made it to the vet in time. As Andrew says, quite a compelling argument for feral animal control using a .303 rifile – fast, humane, accurate – no chance of collateral deaths to native wildlife or domestic animals.
Have been thinking of jesh for the past few days – she had a great wicket and knew that she was much loved xxxxx
Thanks for posting this important information. I am a permie from the Nimbin region and have a wonderful hearing dog Izzy. I cried at reading how you lost your precious Jesha and am feeling very emotional while writing this. Thank you for sharing your sorrow and timely story. My blessings go out to you and your family. Big hugs. Vicki and Izzy
So sorry to hear about your loss. It’s heartbreaking to lose a friend at any time, worse still to know they suffered.
I am so sorry to hear about your loss, I was only admiring your dog a few days ago in the picture on your ‘Tiny home’ post. My Dad lost his Kelpie to bait 18 months ago – it is an excrutiatingly painful way for an animal to die & something that I don’t think any dog owner should have to see their ‘mate’ go through. Thank you for sharing this….I hope it comes to the attention of many & that baiting practices start to change.
so sorry to hear about your dog. we convinced one of our neighbors to use the local crack shot rather than 1080. 74 foxes over two nights! painless, fast & the farmer also said it was much more economical for him. + we all got an idea of the actual amount of the foxes around & confirmed management of just the one species, rather than unknown impacts on a whole lot of other unintended animals. we still need to convince another neighbor, unfortunately his concern about insurance issues seems to over ride his concern for his neighbors dogs & other… Read more »
what a tragic waste – how many more animals, birds etc from a diverse range have to be part of the tally before other cost effective, humane avenues are endorsed? Think of all those families that are affected when they loose a pet or working dog..
The pain of losing such a friend is horrific – and to do in such a way must be even more so.
Hugs to you all
Oh you poor dudes. That totally sucks. Even as much as I hate foxes (in direct correspondence to my love for my chooks) I could never imagine using such a method to kill them off. I’m so sorry your dog died like that.
The cairn is lovely.
I am so sorry for your loss and very upset for you. 1080 is an awful poison and should be banned, particularly as one of the other comments made mention how much more effective, efficient, targeted and humane shooting pest animals is in comparison. Sending much love!
I’m so sorry to hear about Jesha. This is just horrible. Thanks for sharing this painful experience with us.
I found Jesha to be a really lovely dog when I saw her at the PDC, I thought that recent picture of her and Nick in your French Door post was full of personaility.Sorry to hear Kirsten, Nick and Ashar.
Thanks everyone – really appreciate your good wishes. Hope I wasn’t laboring the point by sharing this… by god it was a tough day!
On the upside, all our family are whole and un-maimed, we have a livelihood, land to steward and a reason to get up in the morning. We’re very lucky and we haven’t forgotten that for one second. But losing Jesha that way still sucked bigtime.
So terribly sorry to hear this, i can only imagine your pain as it would be unbearable for us.. Thank you for sharing your story and raising our awareness, and we agree that is no way for anyone to drop their mortal suit, our love goes to Jesha:)
Thats terrible, terrible that the dogs died but its also terrible that farmers think that this is an okay way to get rid of pests- fine shoot them do what you must but just because they are pests and do what is in their nature to do (aka foxes who have horrible natures and do horrible damage) doesnt mean they should have to die a long agonizing death either. By all means control the pest popullation but do it in a more humanne way, a fast death not a slow one- this would also stop the risk of other innocent… Read more »
I’m so sorry to hear this. I feel for your family, loss of a pet is never easy. We are like you in that we don’t use poisons on our land, and I often fear that our animals will get it from someone else’s place.
Sad to hear about Jesha. 1080 should be banned IMO.
oh my God I am sooo sorry to hear about the loss, and more specifically, the nature of the loss. It was incredibly painful to read about and I can’t imagine the experience. I wish you peace in your heart.
Sending blessings to Jesha.
Love to you all and courage in facing the cycles of life.
Please be aware 1080 baits last a very long time,in one instance we lost a dog to a bait which would have been put some 8 years previously.
In another situation we lost 4 working dogs to baits that had been carried back to the homestead by crows as they are imune to the effects of 1080 as they have a different gut system.
So keeping them chained is not always the answer either.
It is sad that you have lost your family pet in this way. Your story brings with it some questions. How far away from your home were these baits laid? As you say it was over the hill I envisage that it must be some kilometres away. You also say that you were warned that these baits were being laid. My question is why was your dog on this other property, a distance from your home? I have lived on the land for over 40 years. I have seen the heartbreaking damage & loss of lambs & indeed sheep after… Read more »
Lynne, we don’t know where the baits were. The ones we were notified about shouldn’t have been active any longer anyway – they went out 3 weeks ago. Which raises questions in itself. The baits could have been brought into our home yard, for all we know, by other animals. We also don’t know where the dog was. Yes, we forgot to chain her up, just the one night. Thanks for the reminder that it’s our responsibility, but i thought i covered that. I too have seen what foxes and dogs can do to sheep. It’s not pretty. Our family… Read more »
Oh how absolutely awful. My heart goes out to you guys. Thanks for sharing such an important lesson for us all to learn from. As usual, the sharing and comments allow Jesha’s life to not be lost in vain.
I am so sorry for your loss.
I also agree with your views on this particular poison. And you made a beautiful cairn.
I have at times logged onto your site looking for interesting items. I am however a little disapointed with this article. I understand that you & your family would be upset & angry. To make people aware of the use of this poison is commendable but to insinuate that people use this without thought or are small minded is not appropriate. It is obvious that you have moved to a traditional farming area & differences of opinion will always exist. These farmers if they use this poison within the guidelines of the of the law have no case to answer… Read more »
Gummy, I don’t know if you made it to the ‘moral of the story’ but if you did you would see that we do take responsibility for this. If you don’t find my writing or opinion ‘appropriate’ i encourage you to go and find some writing that you find more to your taste and views. Blogging is not always about being ‘appropriate’. It is about expressing an opinion and sharing a journey. There’s all sorts of things that farmers can do ‘within the guidelines of the law’. That doesn’t make all those things good, ethical or contribute to a happy,… Read more »
I realise that your views are different to others but yours are not necessarily right. To each his own.
Very true. And I believe I’ve framed my views as just that, my views.
Reading the comments from this article is proving very interesting. It is good that there are different views on this subject. Everyone is allowed their own views as that is what our country is about. It is however not good to deneragrate people for their views, or beliefs if you don’t agree with them. This is across the board. Sometimes it is better to keep negativity to a minimum & try to get along with others.
Wow, heartbreaking. The way I read your article, was just the expression of loss that involved poison baits. My condolensces. I was nearly killed as a kid from someone who decided to lay baits around the neighbourhood to kill off all the dogs. I was about 2, holding the piece of food in my hand – mum saw the dog convulsing and managed to stop me from eating it. Poison is a terrible way to die and it cannot be policed as to who gets a taste. Keep an eye on your little one just in case some of that… Read more »
Really sorry to hear about Jesha guys. That is horrible. Lots of love!
1080 is an inhumane poison affecting 100s of dogs. Want to help our fight against it. Please email solicitor, Marilyn Nuske at [email protected] and give her your story about 1080