Dog left seriously ill after asthma inhaler exploded

A dog was left needing emergency treatment after getting hold of an inhaler and chewing a hole in it until it exploded, filling her mouth with salbutamol. Owner Sarah Collinson said she ‘dreads to think’ what would have happened to her Cocker Spaniel, Wilma, if it weren’t for the PDSA.

Sarah, from Derby, said: “I saw Wilma pick up the inhaler and immediately went to take it from her. But then, the inhaler exploded and I panicked.

"Within 30 minutes, she started vomiting and became extremely restless. She was whining, drinking a lot and didn’t seem her usual happy self. I was very upset, panicky and didn’t know what to do next.”

Sarah contacted the team at Derby PDSA Pet Hospital, and they asked her to bring Wilma in immediately.

Derby Pet Hospital Vet Team Leader, Chris Furness, said: “When we examined Wilma, we found that she had a fast heart rate. We knew that the concentrated form of salbutamol found in inhalers can lead to serious symptoms if swallowed, such as wobbliness, weakness, tremors, and a fast heart and breathing rate.

“She was admitted straight away for intravenous fluid therapy to keep her hydrated, close monitoring for any tremors or weakness that might develop, alongside medications and a blood test. The medications we gave her helped to slow down her fast heart rate and bind up the toxins from the inhaler. As Wilma had already vomited twice before coming to us, thankfully, we didn’t have to induce vomiting as per the standard protocol.

“While salbutamol inhalers can sometimes be used as a treatment in dogs, they are dangerous if chewed or swallowed. Thankfully, most dogs that chew on salbutamol inhalers recover with treatment within 24 hours. We recommend that all medications are hidden and out of reach of prying paws.”

Sarah added: “Both me and my sister were really concerned when Wilma had to stay overnight. I live alone and share a special bond with Wilma.”

By the early morning, Wilma was looking a lot better – she was bright, hydrated and eating. However, she still had a fast heart rate – so treatment was continued.

The vets at Derby Pet Hospital continued to look after Wilma and, thankfully, she showed further improvement later that day.

Vet Team Leader, Chris, added: “We were pleased to see Wilma’s heart rate coming back down to normal by the afternoon. Her appetite had returned, and she was eating everything we offered her, so she was able to go home.”

Since being treated at Derby Pet Hospital and returning home, Wilma is back to being her normal mischievous self. But Sarah is now making sure that curious Wilma won’t find anything dangerous again.

Sarah has deep connection with Wilma and is an avid animal lover. Sarah said: “Wilma is a very happy dog who is full of energy. She’s so loyal and loveable – she loves to be by my side. We love to go on long walks together.

“I dread to think what would have happened if PDSA didn’t exist as I would have struggled to afford the full cost of Wilma’s treatment. Me and Wilma have a special bond, so I was devastated when she became unwell. I’m happy to have her back home and healthy.”