LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News vol 10 no 4, June 2010, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor-in-Chief: Anne Roberts

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A Family of Dogs and the Tragedy of Rosebery

by Kay Seltitzas

We purchased two Rottweiler female sister pups named Vasco and Bandit (pictured) in 1999.

Whilst living in 21 Clemons Street, Rosebery, they became ill with what I now know were symptoms of heavy metal poisoning. They were vomiting and unable to stand up. The Vet said they had definite symptoms of poisoning and suggested we give them salt water to induce vomiting. They recovered after a week but I was terrified that they would die as they had suffered so much during that week. They could not walk as their back legs could not support them, and we had to hold them up and be their legs so they could drink water or go to the toilet.

In 2004 Vasco became ill and could not eat or lie down. We took her to the visiting Scottsdale Vet and she told me to give her smaller meals more often, which I was already doing. I was so frightened for her because I knew something was terribly wrong because when a Rottie won't eat you know it is serious. There was some improvement for a month, we were so careful and watched everything we gave her. One day I gave her a medium-sized meal and she enjoyed it but in my heart I knew that it was a turning point. Immediately the same symptoms returned she wandered around the house 24 hours a day, only able to drink a lot of water but unable to eat. I tried to give her little treats, just morsels of ham or steak, foods she had loved but she just could not eat it. On a Sunday morning a few weeks later, after I had been up with her all night as usual, she came into my room and cuddled me and then suddenly collapsed and died on the floor. I believe that not being able to sleep, sit or lie down had finally caused her heart to give out and it broke mine with it. She was a truly gentle and kind dog and she did not deserve to suffer so much.

Ninja was Bandit's female pup born in 2003. She suddenly started to lose weight in April 2004 and could not eat or lie down. The Vet called in to see her for a home visit and suspected stomach cancer. It is important to understand that we had no understanding or knowledge of heavy metal contamination in Rosebery at that stage. Ninja became extremely thin and so ill that she couldn't move much, but was unable to be still at the same time. She died a month later in extreme pain like her aunt Vasco had. We tried to give her titbits and were as unsuccessful as we had been with Vasco. We kept believing that she would get better and could not accept that the same thing was happening again- we were in denial.

Bandit was diagnosed with copper poisoning in late 2005 by the Devonport Animal Hospital. Eventually she could not eat and could only drink water. The Vet prescribed ZINC DRINK to treat the copper poisoning. This time we were hopeful that the supplement would help her, as we could not face the possibility that she would die also.

On January 29, 2006 I was admitted to Burnie Intensive Care Unit with what I would later learn had been severe symptoms of heavy metal poisoning. When I came home at the end of the following month Bandit was still unable to eat and could only drink water. On 19 February I watched as she vomited blood. We rang the emergency vet in Burnie and we took her in the car to travel to Burnie but she died in Lindsay's arms when we reached Tullah. All three beloved dogs are buried on the property at 14 Murchison Street, Rosebery. The irony is not lost on us that the place that killed them became their graves.

Since moving away from Rosebery in August 2009 there have been some improvements for our surviving dogs Sam and Assasin (pictured). They still have intermittent vomiting and diarrhoea even though we have made major changes to their diet. We can now let them out of the house without worrying that they might drink seepage water or get covered with heavy metal dust from the yard. Unfortunately, in May 2010 Sam had to have two fist-size malignant cancers cut from her abdomen with smaller ones yet to be removed. Assasin also has several small lumps, which are going to be removed in the near future.

If I had known about the extreme toxicity people and pets are exposed to in Rosebery I would not have purchased two properties there and I certainly would not have subjected innocent animals to such short and painful lives and violent deaths.

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