Cornwall

Cornwall palm oil 'poisons a dog a day'

Long Rock substance Image copyright www.aphotomarine.com
Image caption The white substance found smells like diesel

Cornwall vets say they have been seeing a dog every day that has been poisoned by palm oil washed up on beaches.

Reports of the white substance on beaches started appearing last October after one dog died from eating it on a Cornwall beach.

Since then the substance has been seen as far away as south Devon.

Bad weather has washed in large boulder-like clumps of palm oil at Perranporth.

Diesel smell

Dog owners are being warned to keep their pets away from the white waxy substance, which smells like diesel.

Chris Gardner, of St Clements Vets in Truro, said: "We have been lucky we haven't lost any dogs through them eating palm oil.

"We were seeing dogs on a daily basis two weeks ago. Then it went quiet in the storms, probably because there weren't so many people on the beaches.

"But we had a dog brought in yesterday from Porthtowan. It is still an ongoing issue."

Reports of the substance had come from Porthtowan and Gwithian.

"I have seen 2ft-diameter lumps," said Mr Gardner. "It has a strong diesel smell, so if you smell it on your dog get advice immediately."

Vets treat poisoned dogs by making them vomit and giving them liquid charcoal to absorb the substance.

The substance was analysed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Palm oil has a wide variety of uses and is found in food, soaps and shampoos, and biofuels.

The source has yet to be identified.

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