Beware of "pet friendly" snail bait - Monty's story

Monty is a nine month old Border Collie who has been coming to see us since his puppy school days. Only a few days ago Monty's owners were concerned after finding him restless and shaking in the hind legs. Within an hour Monty was in the car and on his way down to our Whitfords hospital.

n examination by our veterinarian, and after consulting with Monty's owner we established that he may have digested snail pellets from the garden.  The snail pellets claimed they were "Pet friendly", in this case it meant they contained a bittering agent which was supposed to deter animals from consuming the pellets.  Unfortunately for Monty this wasn't the case and he had eaten more than his fair share.

The Whitfords team initiated emergency treatment. In this case we were able to give him apomorphine to induce vomiting. If left untreated any longer, Monty would have shown further signs of toxicity including fitting and seizures. If this was the case he may have required a gastric lavage (involving feeding a tube into the stomach via the mouth and oesophagus and using warm water to flush the stomach contents out through the mouth) and an enema (involving flushing the bowel contents out the other end with a tube and warm water). 

Our suspicions were confirmed, the green pellets were easily identified in Monty's vomitus.  Monty was then put on intravenous fluids to help flush his liver and kidneys and was given activated charcoal. The charcoal was given to help bind any toxins still remaining in his stomach, so that it could be safely excreted.

Once stabilised, Monty retired to the comfort of a warm fluffy bed for a nights rest in our hospital.  Monty returned home the next day.

Monty's case highlights two important issues

  1. Do not leave household and garden poisons where pets can access them. Some substances that are toxic include snail baits, rat sac, lead based paint and caustic cleaners such as bleach. In the event that your pet ingests anything toxic, ring the vet immediately. We do not recommend leaving any form of baits or poisons in your garden regardless of the claim of 'pet friendly' made by the poison manufacturer
  2. If you suspect your pet is acting out of the normal, do not delay seeking veterinary attention.



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