An urgent warning has been issued after an “extremely lucky” dog could have died on a beach in Carmarthenshire after eating part of a highly poisonous plant. The dog, named Ceri, was out on a walk on Tuesday morning on a beach in Llanelli when she started to chew on a hemlock water dropwort root.

The toxic plant, also known as 'Dead Man’s Fingers', contains alkaloids and has been known to cause paralysis and death in pets, along with breathing difficulties. It can also be harmful to humans. The root of the plant is said to be the most poisonous part, and on Tuesday Ceri found some on the beach and began eating it before her walker realised what was happening. Ceri was swiftly taken to Vets4Pets in Llanelli who were able to save her by making her vomit what she had consumed. You can keep up to date with the latest Carmarthenshire news by signing up to the local newsletter here.

In a post on Facebook warning other dog owners and walkers to beware, the vet company said: “Ceri was being walked on Llanelli Beach when she started to eat hemlock water dropwort root. Fortunately her dog walker managed to stop her eating too much and her mum brought her straight in to us. We were able to make her vomit up what she had eaten straight away and fortunately she hasn’t developed any symptoms. She is extremely lucky that both her dog walker and her owner acted so quickly.

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“Typical signs after eating hemlock water dropwort include drooling, vomiting, twitching, paralysis and seizures. In some cases it can be fatal. Signs can start as soon as 15 minutes after eating it or as late as eight hours so rapid treatment is essential. Please be aware if you walk your dog on the beaches in the area.” Want less ads? Download WalesOnline’s Premium app on Apple or Android.

It’s not the first time in recent months that hemlock water dropwort roots have been found on beaches in south Wales. Earlier this year, a spaniel experienced vomiting and seizures after eating some of the plant on Ferryside beach in Carmarthenshire, while the coastguard has previously warned people to be "extra vigilant" after the plant was found on Aberavon beach in Port Talbot.

Llanelli Beach

Hemlock, which is also sometimes referred to as 'Poisonous Parsnips', can get washed down from rivers after heavy rain before emerging out of estuaries. It grows on damp ground, such as road verges, waste grounds, ditches and riverbanks. Symptoms of poisoning in dogs include abnormal nervousness, coma, excessive drooling, increased temperature, muscle twitching, panting, pupil dilation, rapid pulse, rolling eyes, severe abdominal pain, tremors, violent convulsions, and vomiting. If you believe your dog may have ingested or come into contact with the plant, please seek assistance from your vet.

According to Pets4Homes: “Water dropwort is poisonous to all animals, including people and dogs, and a small dose of the plant can lead to a lingering death over the course of a week or more, while a larger dose can actually prove fatal to both man and beast inside of a few hours. While the leaves of the plant are not toxic and can be safely consumed by grazing animals, the stems and the roots of the plants are very poisonous.”

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