Pesticides ruled out in death of dog

New Lewis and Clark dog, Bison, will fill spot of Seaman, who died.
Friday, July 9, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:39 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 5, 2008

Two postmortem toxicology tests on Seaman, the dog of the Discovery Expedition of St. Charles, have ruled out pesticides as the cause of death, but additional tests will be conducted.

Waverly Acting Police Chief Jesse Coslet said Thursday that two more tests will be performed on the dog’s liver for traces of other poisonous substances. The results of those tests aren’t expected for another two weeks.

In the meantime, another Newfoundland dog, Seaman Bicentennial, is joining the Lewis and Clark re-enactors.

Seaman died June 16, while the Lewis and Clark re-enactors were in Waverly. Coslet transported the animal’s body to the MU Veterinary Laboratory the next day.

Gayle Johnson, associate director of the lab, said samples for the remaining two tests will be sent to an out-of-state diagnostic lab. Johnson said this is standard procedure because the MU lab does not specialize in the type of tests needed, and there is no other lab in the state that is accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.

“It’s better to ship samples to a lab that does testing in the specific area than to do only a few samples a year,” she said.

Once all toxicology tests are completed, the main pathologist on the case will determine the cause of death and forward the information to Coslet, who will decide whether to investigate Seaman’s death.

Meanwhile, the Discovery Expedition is already enjoying another Newfoundland dog, which was presented to them July 4 by the same breeder who gave them Seaman. The new companion of Scott Mandrell, who portrays Capt. Meriwether Lewis, is a 3-month-old male named Bison — shorthand for Seaman’s Bicentennial.

Bison was chosen for the expedition by Sue Auger, owner of Denali Farm Newfoundlands in Middlesex, N.Y., from a litter of nine puppies. Auger said she chose Bison because he was very bright, liked water, was unafraid of fireworks and cannons and friendly. The expedition members got their first look at their new companion when Auger delivered the puppy to the crew in Atchison, Kan.

“I said, ‘This puppy has all the attributes that he needs to be your dog,’” Auger said.

However, Auger said, Bison still needs training, so he is taking obedience classes in Alton, Ill., where Mandrell’s family lives. The newest member of the re-enactment team currently visits only a few of the expedition’s public events, but will soon join the team full time.

Dr. John Parker from the Loop 70 Veterinary Clinic said the mid-Missouri climate can be hard for a Newfoundland, which was the type of dog that accompanied Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition. But, Parker said, keeping the dog in the shade, providing it with enough water and sometimes shaving it in the summer should be enough to help it endure the climate.

“That climate is the hardest for Newfoundlands,” Auger said. “It’s not their favorite but they can exist as long as they get wet.” Seaman would swim in the Missouri River whenever he wanted and stay covered on the boat during the hottest hours of the day, Auger said.

The Lewis and Clark re-enactors are currently in White Cloud, Kan., and could not be reached for comment.

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