Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stray Voltage a Threat to you and your pets

There was a very interesting article in the Animal Wellness magazine this fall and thought we
would share a re-written summary of this. Original article written by Carole Raphaelle Davis for Animal Wellness magazine.

Dogs all over the world and their owners are getting zapped by stray voltage. This is a phenomenon lurking under our sidewalks. When there is a high concentration of people and equipment, such as lamp posts, manhole covers, electrical plates, storm drains and concrete sidewalks they can become conduits of the buried electrical systems.
What happens is that the insulation on the buried electrical wires wears out or becomes damaged by construction or digging or by salt corrosion over time. When these conductors come into contact with the surfaces that you and your furry friend walk on, it becomes an electrocution hazard.
Most of us, would wonder if the sidewalk has to be wet. No, concrete actually conducts electricity.
In New York City in January of 2004, Jodie Lane was killed by an electricfied metal plate while walking her dogs. She died trying to help her dogs, who survived the shock. Con Edision settled with her family for 7.2 million. New York had to spend $100 million in citywide detection for reducing the risk of stray voltage. This is not just an isolated incident. Most people don't know what happened to their pets so these electrocutions go unreported.
When you have a severe electric shock every organ and cell in your body short circuits. Your pet may suffer organ damage, cardiac arrhythmias and your pet can have seizure like symptoms. The shock can cause fluid in the lungs and the stomach and the intestines are first to show signs of the damage. Dogs get zapped more than people because their feet have no protection.

So, how can you and your pet be safe? Take a cue from your dog. If they do not want to walk in area on the sidewalk or grate, do not force them. Dogs seem to know these things.
Don't walk in areas that are under construction. Don't walk in areas that have been salted.
Salt is a conductor! Take your dogs to the dog park or other grassy areas when possible.

New York's Con Edison has reduced it's stray voltage shocks by 80% since 2004. Though some city utility companies don't believe there is a problem and even veterinarians have not heard of the stray voltage problem.
Tell your friends, your vet, your dog walker, your dog trainer about this so they become more aware. Go to the Power Survey Company website which answers questions and explains what is stray voltage.
Power Survey Company is working with the Companion Animal Protection Society to reach out to the veterinary hospitals here in the U.S. to help awareness of this problem.