Several dogs have suffered poisoning this week after eating hashish that had been washed up onto Marbella beaches by sea during the recent storms. Drug traffickers heading to the shore in boats had previously thrown the packages into the water because they had been spotted by the police, and the drug is now lying on the sand.
Borja Hoz, a vet at the Dogo Azul clinics in Marbella and Mijas, says he decided to walk his dog in the area of the Artola dunes on Wednesday, to see how much damage had been done by the storm. That was when he discovered the hashish, lying on the beach.
He found three slabs of the drug, and called the police, who came to collect it. “The officers told us that this has already happened in several places,” he says.
Unfortunately, some dogs have been poisoned by eating the hashish. Borja says the drug has a strong smell which attracts them. “We actually see a lot of cases where this has happened, but they are not normally as serious. The dogs might eat a small piece in their owner’s home or a cigarette end they find in the street, so there isn’t much of it and the side effects are only slight,” he says.
However, the amount of hashish which is now on the beaches is much greater, so the symptoms are very serious and can even lead to death. It is particularly dangerous for small dogs, or those who eat a lot of the drug.
The symptoms normally begin an hour or two after the dog has eaten the hashish. The vet says their pupils become dilated, some of them vomit, they salivate and become unsteady on their feet. “They fall down, disoriented, and are afraid of the light. In the most extreme cases, they have convulsions,” he says.
Time is crucial when it comes to helping them. Borja says that during the first hour after they have consumed the drug, it is a good idea for them to be made to vomit. However, he insists that this must be done at the veterinary clinic, because the animal will need an X-ray first to make sure the remedy won’t cause more damage.
Normally, the vet will also apply a fluid therapy treatment. “We give the dog a lot of liquid so its kidneys work non-stop and that helps it to get rid of the drug in its system more quickly,” he explains.
He stresses that dog owners should be very careful when walking their dogs on beaches at the moment, or even take them somewhere else, to avoid them becoming poisoned or even dying after eating hashish.