Last spring, veterinarian Virginia Sinnott found herself desperately trying to save the life of a 4-year old Shih Tzu on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The dog had eaten mice poison that her owners had deposited around their house - though they put it in what they assumed were impossible-to-reach areas.
But the small dog sniffed her way to the poison, and soon, she was struggling to breathe. Her owners rushed her to Sinnott, who is currently senior staff veterinarian at the well-known Angell Animal Medical Center (MSPCA-Angell) in Boston. "The animal was bleeding in the space between the ribs and the lungs," says Sinnott, explaining that the poison was designed to cause internal bleeding. "We took that blood off, and began to give her a transfusion. But we couldn't access the blood in her lungs quick enough."
The otherwise healthy dog, she says, died.
It's a heartbreaking but not uncommon scenario, especially this time of year. For many pet owners - indeed, for many Americans - springtime equals spring cleaning: scrubbing corners, ridding the house of mice and rats, planting gardens and perfecting one's emerald green lawn.