Dog owner shares hogweed warning after Hector the spaniel's head doubles in size

A dog owner was left distraught after her dog Hector’s head swelled to twice its normal size during a walk.

The cocker spaniel was snuffling around in long grass in Port Seton, East Lothian when it’s thought he encountered giant hogweed.

When the dog emerged from the grass, it was clear something wasn’t right.

Not long after two-year-old Hector touched the toxic plant, his face began to swell, and he ended up going into anaphylactic shock.

The pooch was rushed to a nearby vet where he spent roughly five hours being treated.

Owner Emma Ferrier, from Prestonpans, East Lothian, has since issued a warning to fellow dog-lovers of the dangers of giant hogweed.

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.

‘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 Giant Hogweed in there.

‘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 that plant as it could prove fatal if not treated right away.’

Giant Hogweed is a non-native species to the UK and has been spreading across Scotland for decades.

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.

It’s a toxic plant that can grow up to five feet tall and cause severe burns and blistering that can last several months.

The sap of the weed is phototoxic, meaning it makes the skin extremely vulnerable to sunlight.

It can cause horrific burns on the skin of both animals and humans, and even blindness if it gets too close to the eyes.

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