A heartbroken pet owner from Sheffield has issued a warning to other dog lovers after her great Dane got burnt from giant hogweed.
Joanne Boardman, aged 47, had taken her rescue dog Ellie on a walk through fields and allotments near her home in Greystones when the plant scratched the eight-year-old’s nose.
A few days later, the scratches had turned into big open sores and blisters.
Joanne said: “I noticed a couple of scratches on Ellie’s nose and a few days later they turned into blisters.
“I took her to the vets and it turned out she had been burned by giant hogweed.
“She had open blisters on her nose for about two to three weeks.
“The blisters were really sore, open wounds and very painful for Ellie, because they were on her nose, which is a really sensitive part for any dog.
“She is such a friendly, happy dog normally and this had a massive impact on her – she went really quiet and just wasn’t happy at all.
“All we could do was open wound management, so management of the wound with antibiotics, pain killers and cleaning it every day with salt water just to try and reduce the blisters.”
Giant hogweed contains toxic components which, if touched, make skin extremely sensitive to sunlight, meaning it can burn and blister easily.
The plant, which can grow up to 3.5 metres tall, affects animals as well as humans and can cause severe burns, particularly in summer months when UV rays are strongest.
Voluntary sector worker Joanne, who has three other dogs – two great Danes and a Newfoundland – wants to warn other dog owners of the dangers of hogweed.
She said: “I want people to know about hogweed and be aware that it is out there, because it is really dangerous.
“It’s just horrible to see a pet in so much pain.
“People should be really careful and check out giant hogweed.
“There are loads of stories at the moment so if you see anything that looks like giant hogweed, try to keep your dogs away from it – because what you don’t want to happen is what I have had which is huge sores and numerous trips to the vets and then trying to deal with a dog with really bad blisters for two weeks.”
Reports of injuries following contact with giant hogweed have drastically increased over the past month as UV rays are strongest in summer.