Dog owner issues warning after sand from Margate beach causes bacterial infection and results in eye op for pet

Jo with Diddy

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.”


  1. this shouldnt be a problem , i was led to understand s**t machines are not allowed on our sewage ridden beaches during the summer months ?

    • If People don’t clear up after there dog it’s the owner. Not the dog and there not just sh t machine’s look around Margate beach early what the lazy people leave l suppose they could be sh I machine’s as well

    • Why ! Because you don’t like dogs anywhere. Your logic, if you are using any, is based on a judgement rather than on risk. The risk to the dogs in this story is minimal. It is a problem with dog breeds with genetic issues. The woman in this news story has a dog with an infection which has cost her a lot of money. It is not a news story. If I was an editor I wouldn’t have chosen it. Then you look at that story & say dogs shouldn’t be on the beach. Utter prejudiced nonsense.

  2. why shouldn’t dogs be allowed on the beach tbh the sea water is actually good at keeping flees away if my dogs was good with other dogs I would take them early morning and night

  3. Dogs are okay on the beach if with responsible owners. I would be more concerned about those humans that have been known to leave their own waste on the beach & then try to hide it with sand.

  4. yes the amount of times i have seen people taking a dump on the beach – come on get real , what about pavements and parks – humans again i suppose ? why not just face the facts , dogs = barking / biting and sh****g and not much else worth commenting on

  5. There is a bigger picture to this story supposing a child baby or even any person was to get a grit of sand in their eye and the same thing happened to them, it is possible that it could happen, an eye is the same in animal’s or humans, then just think is this caused because of a sewage spillage from the past or even one which has not been notified as happens throughout southern waters area and the country,

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