Volcanic ash is poisonous to pets and it is also highly abrasive.
This is the word from the Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
Following its recent compilation of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on The Impact of Ash Fall From La Soufriére Volcano (St. Vincent) on Livestock, the department is warning pet owners to keep their animals indoors as much as possible.
Owners are also being warned that should ash get on their pet’s fur/coat, skin or eyes, to wash it off immediately. If this is not done, the ash can cause damage to the areas of contact and can lead to bacterial infections.
Food and water bowls should be protected from the volcanic ash. According to Veterinary Services, if pets consume ash this can lead to poisoning or ulcerations, even small doses can have great ill effects.
It is also important to ensure that toys and bedding used by pets do not become contaminated with the volcanic ash.
Pet owners are further reminded that they should watch for signs of illness, such as coughing, difficulty breathing, sneezing, diarrhoea, depression, excessive drooling, constipation, loss of appetite and vomiting.
In cases where persons suspect that their pet has been adversely affected by the volcanic ash, and/or show any of these symptoms they should contact their veterinarian.