Posted 2 months ago ago
After Olive the St Bernard underwent surgery at the vets, no-one expected that one of her side effects would be turning green.
Her alarmed owner, Dr Stephanie Olson, posted a photo of the pooch to Twitter, which showed all her chest fur had turned a very earthy shade of moss.
As if the cone of shame hadn’t made the dog look ridiculous enough, she now had a mass of funny-coloured fur to go with it, and Stephanie set off on a mission to find out why her dog looked like it was turning into the Incredible Hulk.
She said: “I was alarmed to discover that my dog turned GREEN overnight.
“I had no idea why. But it turns out that, as an early Earth geochemist, I was perfectly prepared to find out!”
Apparently, the green fur is actually a result of a chemical reaction due to elements in Olive’s saliva.
Stephanie continued: “The story begins with a lot of drool. Usually it ends up on my floors and walls or the pants of visitors. But while Olive is recovering from surgery, her cone collects and funnels her juices down her neck.
“Dog saliva contains iron porphyrins. Upon contact with oxygen, the iron is oxidized to iron oxide nanoparticles. Rust, essentially. This is why Olive and many other drooly dogs have rusty red staining by their mouths.”
But the reason why Olive’s chest turned green was a result of her deep sleep, combined with her ‘neck swamp’ caused by her drooling.
The dog mum said: “Demoralized by the cone, Olive slept awkwardly on her stomach, which isolated her saliva-soaked neck folds from the oxygen in my living room.
“She was sedated and slept like a rock, but her saliva bacteria got to work. They quickly consumed all of the oxygen in her neck swamp, which prevented the red staining typically associated with dog saliva. Instead, green rust formed.
“And the staining along her neck transitioned from rusty red on her chin to rusty green thanks to the combination of her unusually moist neck environment and sustained isolation from oxygen in the air—both symptoms of the cone.
“Green rust is rare today because it is unstable in the presence of oxygen, but it may have been common on the ancient Earth before our atmosphere became oxygenated. The ocean may have even appeared green instead of blue 2.5 billion years ago.”