Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another Tragic Dog Poisoning - Information For Pet Owners

Snail Bait Toxicity

Key Points
Unfortunately, snail bait generally comes in pellets which may mimic dog food and it is flavored which may entice consumption. A small dose of this poison can elicit toxic effects on your pet.
Once it is known or suspected that your pet has consumed snail bait it is imperative that the animal be brought to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

What is it?
Snail bait toxicity is a relatively common poisoning, It is more likely at this time of year as the weather gets wetter and gardeners want to protect their gardens from slug and snail attack. It may be commonly used by those who actively garden. However, there may be malicious intent since very little needs to be ingested to cause toxic effects (less than 1 teaspoon per 5kgs body weight). Unfortunately, snail bait generally comes in pellets which may mimic dog food and it is generally flavored which may entice consumption. It is essential that your veterinarian obtain specific information about possible exposure to this toxin since very little is required to elicit toxic effects. The following are some examples of snail bait:

Clinical Signs
Many of the signs that will be exhibited by your pet will be neurologic in nature and will generally begin within 1 to 4 hours of ingestion of the aforementioned toxin. Some of these will include anxiety where your pet appears overly anxious and easily excitable. Another sign maybe a weakness and wobbliness, which would appear as an uncoordinated movement when walking. Tremors and muscle twitching may also be observed where there is unintentional shaking.
Some other signs may include an increase in heart rate and salivation with the possibility of vomiting and diarrhea.
When examining the eyes one may appreciate an enlargement of the pupils (mydriasis) and in cats a nystagmus (twitching eyeball movement - either horizontally or vertically) may also occur. As time lapses after initial ingestion without appropriate therapy, your pet may also develop a fever, loss of consciousness, decreased respiration, seizures and death. It is imperative that you have your pet examined by a veterinarian if there is a history of snail bait ingestion or if he/she develops these signs.

It is possible to detect metaldehyde (the toxic substance in snail bait) in urine, plasma, stomach contents, and tissue samples, however it is imperative that therapy be instituted before obtaining the results of these tests due to the time it takes to receive the test results.

What to do if your pet consumes snail bait?
Once it is known or suspected that your pet has consumed snail bait it is imperative that the animal be brought to a veterinarian as soon as possible .However, in transit some life saving tips are to remove the source of toxicity from your pet, and you should induce vomiting through the following method: 3% hydrogen peroxide at a dose of 0.5ml/lb orally (maximum dose of 2 tablespoons). Note that 15 ml = 1 tablespoon. It is not imperative that an exact weight be known, an approximation is sufficient. If this does not cause vomiting within 15 minutes of administration then give 3% hydrogen peroxide a second time at a dose of 0.25 ml/lb. Bring the package of snail bait to the veterinarian if possible

What to expect once at our hospital?
If your pet has not vomited prior to admission or has not vomited substantially vomiting will be induced through other methods. Xylazine may be used in cats. In some cases, the stomach may be pumped by your veterinarian (gastric lavage).
In an attempt to slow absorption and bind the toxins that were ingested, activated charcoal is a standard therapy used. If there are seizures and/or muscle tremors present sedation may be needed. Intravenous fluids are usually administered to the pet to help flush out the poison. This is generally continued for at least 24 hours post ingestion and may continue longer depending on the status of your animal. It is best advised to hospitalize your pet for supportive care and monitor for further development of signs.

Aftercare (Care at Home)
There are generally no medications that go home after hospitalization unless there are other concurrent health issues diagnosed.

The prognosis for metaldehyde toxicity is largely contingent on the amount ingested and the severity of clinical sign present (largely determine by the time lapse between ingestion and treatment). However, the prognosis generally given is fair to guarded. The quicker your pet is seen after exposure the better the prognosis. So, if there is question of poisoning get your pet to a veterinary hospital quickly.

Dear sweet Praizo fell victim, just recently, after ingesting this poison.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the helpful post. Any idea where this was?


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