Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Police sniffer dog dies of nose cancer after sniffing cocaine

This is sad, but I'll bet he died with a smile on his face..

Springer spaniel Max, aged nine, may have caught the disease because of the effect of cocaine and other drugs he was taught to detect.

Police Inspector Anne Higgins, the dog's owner, fears the training may have led to the disease which led to him being put down last week.

Max worked as a drugs dog with the Avon and Somerset police but lived with Insp Higgins, who is based at Tiverton police station in Devon.

She said: "It is ironic the wonderful organ that made him successful in his work has been his demise.

"It may or may not have been connected with what he used to do. Up until a couple of weeks ago he seemed fine and was doing well but it was an aggressive tumour.

"It was very hard to have him put down but we had to do it.

"I took him to the police station which he usually loved and was his favourite place but he did not show any reaction to being there and we knew he was not right.

"He was a fighter until the end and always very dignified. He has had a good life and a successful one as a police dog. Just think of all the bad people he managed to put away."

Max retired from police work last year after arthritis in his back legs led to him being fitted with a trolley so he could still run around.

Inspector Higgins said the cancer caused an infection in his front legs which threatened to leave him completely immobile.

Kate Fairclough, the dog's vet, his work may have caused his death from nasal cancer, which is rare in dogs.

She said: "Sniffing drugs may well have been a factor. I certainly cannot rule it out.

"Nose cancer in dogs is not at all common. It represents only one or two per cent of all cancers.

"It is difficult to know what caused it as there are so many different factors involved. Environmental factors can plat a part.

"He had done so well since 2006 when it was thought he would have to be put down so he had an extra three years of life.

"It is always hard to do and he was such a lovely dog."

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