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Carbon monoxide toxicity

Who would have thought that one oxygen molecule could make a lethal difference?

But it does.

Carbon dioxide is a gas we all breathe out as a normal part of our metabolism. It’s not a good idea to re-breathe too much of it, and it is the primary greenhouse gas damaging our world and future generations’ prospects of survival.

But it’s negative effects are slowly accumulating over decades.

And there’s a molecule with one oxygen atom less than carbon dioxide, called carbon monoxide. This is an extremely lethal gas, capable of killing at once. And it’s more harmful to pets than people.

Cases of carbon monoxide toxicity are much more frequent in the winter months. This is because the gas is produced mainly by poorly maintained, malfunctioning or badly installed combustion appliances such as boilers, gas fires etc.

It is colourless and odourless, so neither our bodies nor our pets can detect it.

And if we breathe too much in, we get very ill with a variety of vague symptoms, and can easily die, if not quickly removed from the source.

Dogs and cats are more at risk due to their smaller size, and their preference to snuggle up close to warmth producing appliances.

If affected they can show tremors, wobbliness, vomiting, depression and a racing heartbeat. Sometimes they can turn deaf, blind or even aggressive due to brain damage.

If you haven’t already, be sure to keep your appliances in good working order, regularly serviced, and install a simple carbon monoxide detector, as there is no way you can tell if this potential poisonous gas is stalking you, your family and your pets.

On a more cheerful note, if you fancy a dog related outing, Crufts is coming once again to Birmingham!

Three days of all things dog related at the NEC are on from 10th – 13th March. It’s a brilliant day out, and easy to get straight to the door from Sussex by train.

It’s a great opportunity to test your knowledge of the rarer dog breeds, and to see obedience, agility, flyball and even heelwork to music. You can see highlights on TV, but being there in person allows you to experience the buzz!

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