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Summerlin pet owners worry pesticides are making their dogs sick

AP Photo/Ken Ritter

Sprinklers water grass near a street corner Friday, April 9, 2021, in the Summerlin neighborhood of northwest Las Vegas.

Some pet owners in Summerlin are worried pesticides and herbicides sprayed in the common areas of their neighborhoods are making their dogs sick.

It got so bad; Danielle del Nodal got the Nevada Department of Agriculture to do some tests.

They ultimately determined that the correct amount of spray was used outside her home, in accordance with Nevada pesticide laws and regulations. They also confirmed the only area tested was right outside del Nodal's home.

"I feel that there was definitely some spray that drifted on to our backyard and unfortunately has made our dog very sick," she said after getting the results.

She said the chemical used, glyphosate, is in Roundup, which has been banned in other states, but not Nevada.

"It is so heartbreaking, because there are numerous pets," she said. "Our pet owners that I hear from all the time say that their dog has gastric issues, their dog just randomly is throwing up, they'd spent so much money at the vet. So almost every other day, I'm hearing from neighbors who found the page and have let us know that their pets are ill as well, and they believe this is the cause."

Her dog, Mowgli, "has new symptoms almost every day ...It's just incredibly bizarre to see what this has done to our dog."

We reached out to the Summerlin Council. They are the body that owns and operates the communities' major parks, amenities and common areas.

They sent us a statement, which reads, in part:

The Summerlin Council exclusively uses licensed landscape contractors who must meet or exceed all federal and state regulations and manufacturers’ specifications when selecting and applying landscape management products. As we prioritize the health of our residents, their pets, and the surrounding environment, we continue to proactively evaluate weed control strategies in our parks and community spaces.

Dr. Shadi Ireifej, founder of Vet Triage, spoke to Senior Producer Kristen Kidman about the impacts these chemicals can have on pets.

"If the veterinarian doesn't have, let's say, an exposure as a differential diagnosis, then they're not going to test for it specifically, in which case, it's all suspicion from that point on. So, the answer is yes, with an asterick, the pet owners will suspect it, doctors may suspect it. But as far as confirming it, it's few and far between," he said.

Treatment is necessary immediate in cases of direct exposure with symptoms, and veterinarians will treat the symptoms.

He said in cases where dogs are overexposed to herbicides, they look for gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, fast respiratory rate, or neurological symptoms such as jerking. In the long term, you could see dramatic weight loss and ulcerations in the mouth.

There are two methods of exposure: direct and run-off. The former is when pets are in the vicinity of the product, and run-off is when they're sprayed elsewhere, but move to the localized area.

He encouraged anyone concerned to read literature available on each product and pet exposure.

"If you look at these products they're meant to kill. The reason why they kill plants selectively is because these products inhibit, or mimic, or prevent, production of specific amino acids, proteins or hormones in plants that are not present in mammals. But that doesn't mean that there is not collateral damage," he said. "All you can do is try to minimize, either don't use the chemicals at all, or try to minimize as much as you can, your pet's exposure to them."

Dr. Shadi Ireifej, veterinarian;  Danielle del Nodal, pet owner and Summerlin resident

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Kristen Kidman is the senior producer at KNPR’s State of Nevada and is proud to be from Las Vegas.