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

Norovirus can easily be aerosolized and sicken others when people barf.

Apparently the same applies to dog vomit.

The Daily News reports a dying dog’s vomit sent four people to the hospital in Colorado — an incident possibly triggered by a chemical used in rat poison.

The puke examined at the Vail Valley Animal Hospital in Friday’s poisoning 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, according to the Vail Daily. “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 brought 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.

Cases of veterinary workers getting poisoned by dogs that have ingested pesticides are not uncommon.

To protect themselves, animal experts say, workers should induce vomiting outdoors and stand upwind from the potential fumes.