Poor Hector: Cocker Spaniel left with horrifically swollen head after giant hogweed encounter in East Lothian

A distraught dog owner has issued a warning to fellow pet owners to the dangers of Giant Hogweed - after her pet’s head swelled to twice its normal size.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 11:42 am

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Hector the Cocker Spaniel was foraging in long grass when it is believed he came into contact with the poisonous plant while on a walk on Monday afternoon.

The adorable pooch soon fell unwell and his face began to swell up just moments after he had touched the leaves of the hogweed plant in a field in Port Seton, East Lothian.

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Feeling ruff: Poor Hector was left horribly swollen

The two-year-old Working Cocker went into anaphylactic shock as toxins entered his bloodstream and was rushed to a nearby vets where he spent around five hours receiving treatment.

Owner Emma Ferrier, from Prestonpans, East Lothian, is now warning dog owners of the dangers of the toxic plant and the effect it can have on their inquisitive mutts.

Emma, 24, said: “Hector was on a walk on a long lead with my step-dad just near to Seton Sands Holiday Park in Port Seton when, as usual, he ran headfirst into the long grass in a field.

Hector's head was swollen to nearly twice its normal size

“He has been in there on countless occasions but this time it was very different. As soon as he came out he just didn't look right and he was pawing furiously at his face.

“After a few minutes his face was almost twice its normal size and he went into anaphylactic shock and spent all afternoon in the vets on an IV drip.

“My stepdad was panicking a bit but fortunately he rushed Hector to a vet in nearby Tranent where they said he has definitely come into contact with something toxic.

“It is hard to pinpoint the actual cause but I’ve been up to the field to have a look and there is a lot Hogweed in there.

Feeling better - Hector with relieved owner Emma Ferrier

“I hadn’t noticed it before and I believe the recent hot weather has really brought it on.

“Fortunately we got Hector to the vets in time and he is now recovering from his ordeal at home with antihistamine medication.

“I just hope other dog owners, not just in this area, are vigilant against their pets coming into contact with Hogweed as it could prove fatal if not treated right away.”

Hector and Emma are ready to venture outdoors again

Giant Hogweed can grow up to five feet tall and cause severe burns and blistering that can last several months.

The toxic plant is a non-native species to the UK and has been spreading uncontrollably across Scotland for decades, producing up to 50,000 airborne seeds which can survive for many years.

But the sap of the weed, which looks like a giant version of the harmless plant cow parsley, is extremely toxic to humans and animals, causing horrific burns on the skin.

The skin remains sensitive to UV light for many years - and can even cause blindness if near the eyes.

Every year, thousands of people, including children and pets, suffer life-changing injuries from Giant Hogweed after accidentally coming into contact with it out in the wild.

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