Three-year-old crossbreed Leia was rushed to Vets Now in Edinburgh after coming into contact with a potentially lethal toxin

A mischievous dog was lucky to survive after getting hold of its owner’s asthma inhaler.

Marion Reith, of Edinburgh, heard a bang as her inhaler exploded in three-year-old Leia’s mouth.

Luckily pharmacy worker Marion knew of the potentially lethal dangers of the salbutamol it contained because of her training and got crossbreed Leia to the Vets Now clinic in Edinburgh.

The speedy arrival helped the staff get the sick dog back on the road to recovery.

Now Marion is urging other owners with inhalers to make extra sure they are kept away from their pets.

Leia the dog sitting on carpet
“I’d just stepped into the kitchen when I heard this bang..."

“Leia can be quite playful and she has a thing for chewing anything plastic she can get hold of,” said Marion.

“Because of that, I’m really careful to keep my inhaler well away from Leia. It was in my handbag, and I’d been looking for something and must have left it on the floor.

“I’d just stepped into the kitchen when I heard this bang, and I knew right away what must have happened. It had exploded so fiercely we had to hunt for the cylinder which had shot right across the room.

“Leia was just standing there looking dazed. I work in a pharmacy and had done some training last year and had learned that the inhalers were toxic to pets. 

“I knew it could shut down organs and prove fatal, so I needed help quickly. Her heart rate was racing, and it was so worrying.”

As it was a holiday and her own vet practice was closed, Marion called Vets Now and was told to get Leia there just as fast she could and to bring the inhaler.

The Edinburgh clinic is one of more than 60 clinics and hospitals across the UK that are open seven days a week for out-of-hours pet emergencies. 

Leia the dog on the carpet
"...do keep inhalers well away from pets, and don't delay if something happens."

After a thorough examination, staff admitted Leia for treatment.

“There was evidence of cardiotoxicity and we wanted to get her heart rate down safely,” said Fiona Selby, emergency vet surgeon at Vets Now Edinburgh. 

“We put her on fluids and medication and, happily, over the next few hours the heart rate slowed, her potassium levels stabilised and Leia started to recover. 

“Inhalers can be highly dangerous and getting Leia here really quickly was vital.”

Marion and her family were kept up to date with reassuring phone calls and, after an anxious night, they were able to collect Leia and bring her home the following morning. 

“It was brilliant to get her back and we can’t thank Vets Now enough,” said Marion. “We knew she was in safe hands and the staff were so caring.

“She was a bit off-colour for a couple of days, but she was back to her old self after that. It just shows that it only takes a moment, so do keep inhalers well away from pets and don’t delay if something happens.”