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(US AZ) Paintballs cause for pet concern August 04, 2005 6:52 AM

Here we are in August and the heat goes on. So does the steady stream of animals into the county's shelters. I suppose that would be a good thing if anyone here at AC&C was concerned about not having enough to do! Staff here doesn't worry about that.

A recent notice put out by the ASPCA, however, warns of something that you actually SHOULD worry about - paintballs. Believe it or not, paintballs are a new health hazard for dogs. Since no cats I know play this particular game, I would never have given it a thought. But, in the interest of public information, I'm passing on the ASPCA's information to you.


"In today's active society, outdoor games are growing increasingly popular. That includes paintball, a sport similar to 'Capture the Flag' in which participants shoot opposing team members with pellets of paint. But did you know that these paint-filled pellets can be harmful to dogs if ingested?

"The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has seen an increase in the number of paintball-related cases every year since 2001. In 2004 alone, APCC experts handled more than a hundred. Paintballs typically consist of ingredients such as polyethylene or dipropylene glycol, glycerin, sorbitol, mineral oil, dye, water and ground pig skin, and can come in packages of 1,500 or more, explains Dr. Steven Hansen, APCC Senior Vice President. It is not uncommon to see ingestions involving large quantities of pellets.

"While it is not clear why dogs eat so many, or just how many can produce illness, clinical signs have occurred in dogs consuming as few as ten pellets. The most common signs include vomiting, diarrhea and muscle tremors, as well as weakness, fever, elevated heart rate, blindness, seizures and, in severe cases, death. In one case, a 10-month-old, 45-pound boxer died after eating more than 350 paintballs.

"Companion animal (owners) should be aware of the potential risks," Hansen says, "and take precautions. Do not allow your pets to accompany you during paintball games, and store pellets in areas where animals cannot reach them."

"For more pet poison information, please visit the ASPCA online."

For easy reference, I am including the article Web site address, which is very long. It's Once you get into their Web site there are lots of other interesting things to read as well.

I hope you're having a safe summer and maybe I'll see you at the Eleven Mile Corner shelter. I'm here everyday and have met many of you when you came into adopt a new family pet. There are oodles of adorable puppies available at the moment so come visit us soon!

This column is prepared by the Pinal County Animal Care and Control Department.

İCasa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc. 2005  [ send green star]

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