Jameela the Labradoodle just loves to eat, and so much so that she just could not resist a colourful box of intriguing but somewhat tasty treats she found whilst fossicking in the yard one night! It was not until her owners found a very chewed up carton, that they realised she was in danger. It was a snail bait packet and of course it was now empty.
Certain types of snail bait have high levels of iron. Although some people are led to believe they are pet friendly, these types of snail bait can cause iron toxicity. Iron toxicity signs include gastro-intestinal changes such as vomiting and diarrhoea at low doses, liver disease and failure at moderate doses, and death at high doses.
Lucky for Jameela, her dad recognised the danger of the situation and brought her straight to Vetwest Clarkson where she was admitted as an emergency patient. She was given medication to induce vomiting immediately - it was important to make sure any snail bait still in her stomach would not be absorbed.
Blood samples were taken to assess her liver function and iron levels. Jameela's liver results were normal but her iron levels were sufficient to result in mild to moderate toxicity. Therefore all precautions were taken to make sure further toxicity would not occur.
Jameela was placed on intravenous fluids for supportive therapy and to help flush the toxins out of her system. She was also given a number of medications: something to protect the stomach lining from ulceration; something to help bind any remaining iron in the gastro-intestinal tract to prevent further absorption and a course of antibiotics.
Over the next three days Jameela was very lethargic and inappetent and suffered from severe watery diarrhoea as a result of the iron intoxication. However, after three days of hospitalisation and care, Jameela returned to her bright and happy self and started to eat. She was sent home with a prescription diet for gastro-intestinal problems as well as a number of medications to help her recover.
Jameela has been back to see us a number of times since her hospitalisation and we are glad to report she is looking fantastic. Each visit she has had a small amount of blood taken to ensure her liver enzymes are still ok and to check that the iron levels are returning to normal.
Jameela has now made a full recovery. She was lucky the snail bait box was not full and did not eat any more than she did.
An important note to pet owners
Remember to take extra caution when using common garden poisons such as snail pellets or seek an alternative solution.