Snail Bait and Dogs

Many gardening supplies can be very toxic to dogs.  The most frequent toxicity we see is snail bait.  Snail bait is apparently very tasty to dogs, as they will go out of their way to eat it.  Here at our clinic we have seen everything from dogs that find old boxes in the garage to the pup finding the sprinkled pellets in the garden when going out at night to relieve themselves.  As it only takes a small amount to poison a dog the damage can be done well before the owner realizes it.

The main clinical sign an owner will see is seizures.  This is different from an epileptic seizure in that the seizures will not stop but will continue until treated, and probably worsen.  The most immediate danger in this is that the body temperature can be driven up to levels that will permanently damage the brain.

Another common occurrence is that more than one of the dogs in the household will be having seizures.  As the likelihood of two dogs developing epilepsy at the same time is almost zero this helps with the diagnosis.

While there is no antidote for the poison the pet can usually be saved if the seizures are gotten under control.  This is done with injectable muscle relaxants and sedatives.  Other treatment includes IV fluids, activated charcoal and enemas to remove the snail bait as quickly as possible.  Do not make your pet vomit as the poison could easily be sucked into the lungs in a dog having seizures.

If you have an area that has been treated with Snail Bait is should be hosed down to dissolve the chemical and no animals should be allowed in the area for 14 days.

As with any poison the more quickly it is treated the better the chances are of saving your pet.  If you have any questions about any animal poisoning another good link can be found on our home page under Poison Control.