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Poisoning effects lifelong

AMY MCGILLIVRAY
Last updated 05:00 29/06/2012
Jasper
JASON OXENHAM
EIGHT LIVES: Jasper the cat only just survives being poisoned by a particularly dangerous type of rodent bait. Owner Tracey Poole is questioning Auckland Council's decision to use it.

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Jasper hasn't been the same since a near-death experience earlier this year.

The tonkinese cat is much thinner, has no appetite, is less active and still has to be injected with fluid twice a day.

Owner Tracey Poole says Jasper became very unwell in March and had to be hospitalised.

"He got sick quite quickly. He got really anorexic ... he got all floppy."

Veterinarian Mark Clasper and the team at Remuera Veterinary Medical Centre diagnosed Jasper with poisoning by cholecalciferol and bromadiolone, toxins used in rodent and possum baits.

Mr Clasper says there is no antidote for cholecalciferol poisoning.

"They are left with some sort of impairment lifelong – if they make it," he says.

"It causes the calcium to build up and it rots out all the organs, especially the kidney."

Cholecalciferol causes kidney failure and the animal has to be pumped with fluids to flush it out.

Ms Poole, who lives near Orakei Basin, is now fighting to have Auckland Council ban the use of cholecalciferol poison.

She went to the June meeting of the council's Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum to make her case against the use of the poison in urban areas.

It was only after Ms Poole found a discarded sign at Orakei Basin advising that the council had been using cholecalciferol and bromadiolone baits to get rid of rodents and possums that Mr Clasper became certain of the diagnosis.

"We wouldn't have thought this would be available in urban areas. It's just ridiculous," Mr Clasper says. "Jasper's still got problems. He's lucky to be alive."

Mr Clasper says the only reason to use cholecalciferol is if the rodents become resistant to other poisons.

"It's unnecessary. There's no need to use the toxin. It's got lethal consequences."

He says the poison is also toxic to humans. National Possum Control Agencies confirms that consuming 100 to 200 grams of cholecalciferol bait would be fatal to a human.

Ms Poole thinks Jasper ate a rat that had ingested the poison.

"He's not the biggest, bravest hunter so it would have to have been a pretty sick rat for him to have eaten it," she says.

Ms Poole says it is irresponsible for the council to be using such a dangerous poison in urban areas – particularly off-leash dog areas like Orakei Basin.

Councillors resolved to have officers look into the matter after hearing her presentation at the last Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum.

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- East And Bays Courier

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