A Ramsgate dog owner is urging people to be aware of the possibility of illness after her pet suffered a bacterial infection from sand on Margate beach and had to undergo a cornea transplant.
Jo Hanchett has vet bills in excess of £7,000 after two-and-a-half year old Shih Tzu. Diddy got sand in her eye that contained bacteria, resulting in an ulcerated eye and the transplant at the Royal Veterinary College Hospital in Hatfield.
Letting and sales agency boss Jo said: “On April 24, Diddy was taken to visit Margate sands. She played in the sand and some got in her eye. It was washed out and later I bathed her eye with boiled water for a few days. But then she yelped and when I took her to the vet she was referred to the Royal Veterinary hospital. They found it had ulcerated and burst and she had to have the cornea graft.”
Jo said Diddy is now recovered although she will need eye drops for the rest of her life and has to still wear a head cone for the time being.
Jo added: “There has been a vast improvement and she is back to normal but will have to have the eye drops for the rest of her life.
“The cost of treatment has been more than £7,000 so far and I am waiting to find out if she needs a second operation, plus check ups and the eye drops.”
It is not known what the cause of the bacteria was. A sewer outfall affecting that stretch of beach had not taken place since October 2021 but other causes could include rainwater run off, litter, and contaminants from other beach-users.
A scientific study revealed that between 10,000 and 100,000 microorganisms live on each single grain of sand.
The study by the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology says: “Sand-dwelling bacteria play an important role in the marine ecosystem and global material cycles. Because these bacteria process, for example, carbon and nitrogen compounds from seawater and fluvial inflows, the sand acts as an enormous purifying filter.”