Poisoned dog’s vomit sends four to hospital with breathing problems

A dying dog’s vomit sent four people to the hospital in Colorado - an incident possibly triggered by a chemical used in rat poison, according to reports.

The puke examined at the Vail Valley Animal Hospital in Friday’s poisoning most likely contained zinc phosphate, commonly found in rat bait, the Eagle River Fire Protection District said. “When the pesticide comes into contact with water, it forms a toxic gas,” said fire inspector Gail McFarland.

“When the dog threw up, this released the gas as the pesticide had mixed with the contents in the dog’s stomach.” The dog, which later died, had been taken to the Edwards-based clinic for treatment. Its owner wasn’t identified, and it was unclear where it came into contact with the chemical.

The fumes from the vomit caused three people to show signs of “respiratory distress,” while a fourth person was also taken to the hospital as a precaution. Their conditions weren’t immediately known Sunday. Officials don’t believe anyone else was affected by the toxic fumes. Symptoms of exposure would include a burning sensation in the throat and breathing problems.