Monday, February 9, 2009

Snail Bait Poisoning in Dogs

Snail bait is one of the most common causes of accidental poisonings in dogs. The toxic active ingredient found in most slug and snail baits is metaldehyde.

Snail bait usually comes in pellet form which your pet can find very attractive because it resembles dog kibble. The snail pellets are sometimes combined with molasses, apples and bran which is added to attract the slugs and snails. Unfortunately this also attracts your dog to them.

Snail bait is also available in liquid and granule form, however, if you use it in this form dogs may walk on it and later lick their paws. It is in your dog's best interest not to use snail bait around your yard.

A very small amount of snail bait is fatal for dogs. Approximately 1 teaspoon per 10 lb of bodyweight will cause death in fifty percent of ingestions.

Symptoms of snail bait poisoning occur quickly after ingestion. The most common symptom is twitching. Initial symptoms may include nervousness, apprehension, increased excited mood. Other symptoms include excessive drooling, muscle tremors, panting, fever, seizures, diarrhea, fast heart rate, respiratory failure, rigidity, and vomiting.

It is critical to get veterinary attention immediately if you suspect snail bail poisoning. Your dog could die within hours of ingestion. Get to the vet as soon as possible. Every minute counts.

Try to stay calm and before heading off to the emergency room remember to grab the packet containing the snail bait so your vet can check the active ingredients. If you dog has vomited at home it may also be useful to take the dog's vomit with you to the vet for testing.

There is no antidote for metaldehyde poisoning. Your vet will give supportive treatments by treating the symptoms.

There are pet safe snail killers and repellents. There is a product called Sluggo, which is said to be non toxic to pets.